The ancient Chinese idiom “Three Men Make a Tiger” emphasizes a growing fallacy which affects many people in the past and modern day. Pang Cong, a 5th century B.C. minister in the warring state of Wei accompanies his prince to ensure a temporary alliance between the Wei and Zhao dynasty. This alliance is upheld by the exchange of each states princes being held mutually hostage. In fear of Cong’s political opponents gossiping and spreading ill word of his position during his departure; he attempted to appeal his concerns to his king. Pang Cong begins to address his fears to the king; the conversation appears as follows…
"Your Majesty, if someone were to tell you that there was a tiger running in the street, would you believe it?"
"No." The king replied.
"If two people were to tell you there was a tiger running in the street, would Your Majesty believe it? "
"I might suspect it, " the king said hesitatingly, "but I wouldn't believe it. "
"What if three people were to tell you that?"
After thinking for a while, the king said, "Yes, I would."
Pang Cong said, "Your Majesty, it is for sure no tiger is running in the street. But after being told by three people that there was one, you would believe it was so. Now I'm going to Han Dan (the capital of Zhao) far away from Da Liang (the capital of Wei). There will certainly be more than three people speaking ill of me in front of you, and I wish that Your Majesty would give it your discernment."
The king said, "Yes, I will."
Despite Pang Cong’s attempts at reaching out to his king to ignore the political gossip and slander, his ruler would soon later believe the ignorant comments and negative depictions of him. This excerpt and its quotations were obtained online through http://www.uchinavisa.com/three-men-make-a-tiger.html.
This Chinese folktale is a true depiction of the phrase “What everybody says must be true”, this implies if a rumor or assumption were to be consistently repeated the general public would soon believe it to be the truth. This fallacy in retrospect can fall into exigence’s regarding our society today as a country, society, and individuals. In the modern era a common issue that’s plaguing the internet is the spread of “Fake News” sources across several forms of social media. On February 3, 2017 a false claim that the Los Angeles police department would be setting up checkpoints in hopes of deporting local citizens out of the country illegally. What continued would later be the creation of massive panic among the public and community of the Los Angeles area. Within hours of hearing the news, immigration support groups bombarded the local authorities with questions and resentment regarding the recent news. More information on this specific issue can be found here at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-internet-immigration-hoax-20170203-story.html.
Fallacies such as “Three Men Make a Tiger” are relevant with how our society processes information and ignores further investigation into statements and other claims by individuals. The Latin interpretation of this Chinese idiom is the common fallacy which is “Ad populum” translated as “to the people”; the belief that if a majority of the public believes in an idea, then naturally it becomes widely accepted as fact among the commons. This sense of thinking is detrimental to the development of individuality in a society like today, where nearly everybody is using social media sites through different medians such as computers, phones, etc. Social media has developed into a playground for false stories and accusations in popular topics like politics, religion, and other issues regarding the public. With technology being more prevalent than ever, it’s important for our society to teach ourselves and future generations to further identify the dangers of “Fake News” and rumors that are present within our lives. False claims and general assumptions of different exigences are the roots for society’s incompetence to distinguish facts in this technological age.
Here are a few extra links that I believe are beneficial to identifying the severity of "Fake News" and how to avoid it.