Support Critical Thinking Education: Spot Fake News + Make America Smart Again
The spread of misinformation to the masses is a major concern in our country. Didn't folks used to say, “just because it is on the internet/TV/came out of your crazy uncles mouth it does not necessarily mean it’s true.” Are we diligent enough about checking the credibility of our sources, triangulating information and agreeing that there are sources that are fact finding no-go zones?
When thinking about this topic, I often reflect on my time working on a presidential campaign in back in 08'. I picked up a piece of literature left behind at a cafe from one of our opponents (politico’s always like to look at the oppositions lit). It compared candidates by showing their “factual” positions on certain issues Democrats might care about. One of the sources listed was Wikipedia. That has always stuck with me. A presidential campaign used that as a source? What have we become?
Just two weeks ago at our firm, I received a piece of copy from a senior staff member listing only Wikipedia as the source. It was a piece that was data heavy, and warranted a good amount of research to back up our claim. If this is how our leaders fact find, how are we teaching our youth to think critically and process information?
The high volume of media we consume, and the fact that “fake news” is a term that needs to be used makes all of this is even more troubling. We all know he didn't really adopt an ape baby, right? Young people aged between 16 and 24 spend more than 27 hours a week on the internet alone. How does that influence what they perceive as their reality? According to researchers from the Stanford University, a majority of students — more than 80% of them, in fact — could not distinguish between a piece of sponsored content or “native advertising” and a real news article. They also had difficulty determining whether a news story shared on social media was credible, and based their decision on odd or even irrelevant factors.
So, what can we do to bring 21st-century survival skills to youth, parents and educators to help increase essential critical thinking skills? For one, support organizations like The LAMP. The LAMP is a non-profit that provides vital, hands-on services that help people navigate and thrive in this loud, often misleading, media environment. You can check out what they do and DONATE HERE. Lets make America Smart Again!