Someone with access to the internet does not have all the world’s information at their fingertips, but it certainly feels that way.

The dawn of the internet shot the information age light years ahead. Resources like Wikipedia,, sites that compile news together from multiple sources, and access to unlimited TED talks and history documents and videos all make the internet into an endless well of information. All of these things have revolutionized the way information is spread, and it has done wonders for society.

But with information there is disinformation. Russia’s infamous web-brigade campaigns are not the only ones spreading lies and heavily exaggerated truths. Political and corporate agendas have taken to the internet to push their campaigns forward at any and all costs. Knowing what is true and what is “fake news” is a skill we as a society are far from perfecting, and over the next few generations we will be refining our ability to discern the truth from lies.

However, most of us know that — we just disagree on which sources are true and which are pushing false agendas.

The great lie isn’t who is telling the truth and who is leading us astray. The great lie is that the truth, in all its complexity and nuance, can always be found online. Have you noticed that the more time people spend online, the more they believe themselves to be truly informed?

The problem is that “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Key points might be entirely left out of an article if the journalist did not discover them. I have seen a news story of a drone strike that killed civilians in Afghanistan, with zero combatants reported dead. The reality was that we were involved in a firefight on the ground, and the U.S. couldn’t talk about it at the time. One civilian was killed when the Taliban moved to another building and engaged us from there — when some of our guys returned fire, a woman was killed. One dead civilian, arguably their fault, and several dead Taliban militants.

The Taliban reported this to journalists as: a drone strike killed a bunch of civilians. They threatened the civilians on the ground to report this same story, and when the journalists did their due diligence — they found multiple, on-the-ground sources — they all came to the same conclusion, and wrote it up as a drone strike. Who could tell them otherwise?

Not long later, the U.S. actually did kill some civilians via drone strike when they were trying to target someone else.