without a well-informed public, you get . . . what we have: a culture that rewards ignorance and treats discourse as a blood sport. All freedoms depend first on freedom of speech, but not all speech is equivalent, no matter how many hits a Web site boasts or how many viewers ages 25-54 tune in to a given TV show.
News Literacy Programs
How Do You Find the Truth
News literacy programs provide some hope at least for a more sophisticated consumer.
The News literacy movement is aimed at teaching young people how to think critically and judge the quality of information.
The kids born since the 1990’s have spent a frightening percentage of their lives consuming data in a random world of tweets, blogs and food-fight commentators, for whom fame is a goal and reality a show. Once accustomed to such high-velocity infotainment, how does one develop tolerance for the harder reads and the deeper conversations?
THE MOST IMPORTANT READING SKILL IS KNOWING HOW TO READ BETWEEN THE LINES.
It’s a modest start, but learning to read critically is no less important than reading itself — a simple truth with which even incumbent politicians could agree
We can know that that extreme partisanship is a function of . . . dumbness?
Is that the fault or the goal of the Department of Education? Yes it is.
Dumbness is also all about our media.
Retiring Democratic Rep. Gary L. Ackerman of New York. Reflecting on his 30 years in Washington, Ackerman was asked to comment on the relative lack of comity on Capitol Hill.
Q: Did it ever exist?
A: Not really, he said, but at least Democrats and Republicans used to be friends.
A: Today, crossing the aisle is tantamount to treason. The problem isn’t only Washington but society as a whole.
A: “I think the people have gotten dumber.”
A: “I don’t know that I would’ve said that out loud pre-my announcement that I was going to be leaving.”
A: “We now give broadcast licenses to philosophies instead of people. People get confused and think there is no difference between news and entertainment. People who project themselves as journalists on television don’t know the first thing about journalism. They are just there stirring up a hockey game.”
Two leaders in the movement are the News Literacy Project (NLP), led by Alan Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former Los Angeles Times investigative journalist, and the Center for News Literacy (CNL) at Stony Brook University.
The NLP focuses on school programs for middle and high school students. The group’s staff includes 22 news organizations and 200 journalists who donate their time and talents to work with students. Both groups try to answer the question: How do you find the truth?, and the CNL identifies news as “the oxygen of democracy.” Indeed, without a well-informed public, you get . . . what we have: a culture that rewards ignorance and treats discourse as a blood sport. All freedoms depend first on freedom of speech, but not all speech is equivalent, no matter how many hits a Web site boasts or how many viewers ages 25-54 tune in to a given TV show. ~ Kathleen Parker