News Literacy Lessons: How a Satirical Story About Democrats and Qasem Soleimani Was Spread As Fact. Plus a Doctored Video Of Joe Biden.
This is the latest installment of a weekly feature on this blog — lessons from the nonprofit News Literacy Project. Each installment offers new material for teachers, students and everyone else who wants a dose of reality.
You can learn about the News Literacy Project and all of the educational resources it provides in this piece, but here’s a rundown:
Founded more than a decade ago by Alan Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter at the Los Angeles Times, the News Literacy Project aims to teach students how to distinguish between what’s real and fake in the age of digital communication and a president who routinely denounces real news as “fake.”
Now the leading provider of news literacy education, it creates digital curriculums and other resources, and works with educators and journalists to teach middle school and high school students how to recognize news and information to trust — and provides them with the tools they need to be informed and engaged participants in a democracy. It uses the standards of high-quality journalism as an aspirational yardstick against which to measure all news and information. Just as important, it provides the next generation with an appreciation of the First Amendment and the role of a free press.
The following material comes from the project’s free weekly newsletter, the Sift, which takes the most recent viral rumors, conspiracy theories, hoaxes and journalistic ethics issues and turns them into timely lessons with discussion prompts and links. The Sift, which publishes weekly during the school year, has more than 10,000 subscribers, most of them educators.
Here are two lessons from the Jan. 6 edition of the Sift, as provided by the News Literacy Project. The first is a “viral rumor rundown” about false allegations on social media that Democrats wanted the U.S. flag flown at half-mast after the targeted killing by U.S. forces of Iranian military mastermind Qasem Soleimani while he was visiting Iraq. The second is about a deceptively edited video clip of former vice president Joe Biden at a presidential campaign event that went viral.
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