Teaching Media Literacy In The US – Protection Against False News
by William Jackson
The admission of Social Media companies providing
content space to foreign countries that disseminate
fake news or propaganda that is intential to
influence the perceptions of Americans is a reality.
Social Media is being manipulated to suit
the desires of foriegn entities with malous intent.
Companies that specialize in the distribution of
global content have more access to individuals than
any govermental body in history. It is always
interesting that individuals and families will put
all their family history and personal information
in an unfiltered digital environment, but are dishonest
with their tax information and when census takers come
calling. False and fake news has been and still is
being created and allowed to move through the Internet.
Distorted truths to create changes in the minds of
Americans that have shown to affect their perceptions
and understanding of the political process, individuals
running for political office and even the balance of
power and power projecton.
The results are being seen in the thoughts and actions
of Americans questioning the electorial
process that has been in place for this country
The electorial process is not a perfect system and does
need modification and adaptation, the integration
and maniputation of technology is creating apprehension
and even fear that foreign contries can pay a price
literally to create false and/or misleading content.
This content being directed at
Americans who lack the skill to decipher and
comprehend the intent.
Media literacy and understanding is important
and relevant to mass communication courses.
Teaching students is becoming part of educational
curriculums in high school and higher education
to school future students on how to recognize
Teaching students to analyze content and not take
it for face value is designed to teach students to
potentially recognize propaganda, but that is a
challenge with so many students that are struggling
with reading comprehension and relevancy.
Students must be taught the hows and whys of
questioning posted content, how to evaluate sources
for validity, accuracy and truth.
Students must have the skill-sets to regurgitate
what they are reading and listening to, find out
where the information originated.
Content can be manipulated to the point where
false information can be perceieved to be real;
as Malcolm X once stated that the media can
manipulate information and perceptions to where
you will love those that try to colonize your mind
and hate those trying to free your mind.
Great authors and educators like Chinua Achebe
(Father of African Literature) even before the
Internet spoke of how the British used books
to shape and mold the minds of Africans that could
read and those being educated when Britan and other
African nations were colonized.
To control the minds there was control of what was
being read and how cultures, genders and races
where perceived and even how those being colonized
Students in Mass Communications or Media and even
Social Media curriculums in higher education are
in danger of being manipulated themselves if
instrutors, teachers and administrators do not
include in their curriculums how to recognize
falseinformation. Students should be required to blog,
create Podcasts, and even video blogs to understand
the process so they can see, hear and
experience the process of creating media virtually.
It is not just important to read, but comprehension
and relevancy are needed skills.
If false, fake and manipulated news is allowed to
be posted on Social Media feeds, people will begin
to mistrust mainstream media affecting the
reputations of news reporters, news anchors and media
The results could lead to total distrust of accuracy
and accountability for the media that reports
on the heartbeat of this country. It is extremely
dangerous when citizens cannot trust their media
outlets and Social Media businesses that provide
daily content. Allowing propaganda to spread like
a virus to infect the minds of Americans and even
globally is reprehensable and irresponsible.
The ramifications could be tragic and far reaching
for media companies and their continued survival.
Watch: Facebook, Twitter & Google to testify in
House Russia hearings