Lies, Damn Lies and Viral Content

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Lies, Damn Lies and Viral Content

Craig Silverman's work on debunking viral information has been an important tool for News Literacy teachers.

Now he has published this beefy report on the Tow Center's website, one which I hope we can read and then discuss through this forum, creating some useful teaching tools around it.

As we do, I'd like to sound my now-standard warning: News Literacy, to be useful and to be heard, is consumer protection and not media criticism, of which there is a surfeit.

There is plenty (too much) media criticism, some of it quite good, but a lot of it written by amateurs and activists who demonstrate more devotion to their partisan beliefs than to the public interest. The heart of News Literacy is not punishment or reward of producers we fancy or whose politics we admire or loathe. We don't care about a consumer's partisan beliefs, we only work to teach consumers how to find news reports that adhere to standards of independence, deliver verified information and behind which there is an accountable individual or oranization.It's a distinction with a difference: critics focus on the producer, News Literacy focuses on training the consumer.

So. It's a long read, but let's mine it for useable material for our classrooms.