Media literacy

Media literacy, skepticism and resistance to unsubstantiated claims are essential to modern discourse

The dirge of propaganda, half-truths and lies seems to be normalized, from the White House podium to your online chat page. But there are ways to counter this problem.

Damian Radcliffe of the University of Oregon said the last election cycle saw many dubious claims and rumors, ranging from Hunter Biden’s laptop to alleged email threats from the Proud Boys.

“From my perspective, that’s why media literacy skills, pushing back against conspiracy theories and continuing to shine a light on the importance of tech platforms and the work they do… those are all things really vital things that we need to move forward,” said Radcliffe.

Along with individuals developing healthy skepticism, the media has also made progress in dealing with misinformation. This includes President Trump’s remarks on COVID-19 and mail-in ballots.

Credit White House/ Govt Work/Public Domain

/ Govt Work/Public Domain

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany during a September 2020 briefing. Recently, FOX News caused an uproar among many of its viewers when it cut her off as she was doubling down on the unsubstantiated claims of the President Trump that he was the victim of voter fraud after challenger Joe Biden won the presidential race.

“So we’ve seen large networks being more willing to cut themselves off from the president’s word, and also to be more direct in the corrections they’ve offered,” Radcliffe continued.

“Four to five years later, it’s like they’re finally starting to understand how to deal with misleading information.”

Worldwide, fact-checking organizations have also grown, by 200% in the past four years.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

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