In the Information Age, there’s a plethora of ways for us to access information about the world. Yet even with all these options, we gravitate towards the same outlets, the same sources and the same voices.
“Media Literacy is a necessary foundation for learning and living in a global media culture,” said Dodd in an interview with the Vallejo Times-Herald.
We’re severely lacking in our own media literacy, or our ability to determine the value of the media we consume.
We’ve seen this through the proliferation of the term “fake news,” where people are starting to have different ideas about what the fundamental facts of the world are, this shows what a lack of media literacy can do.
I fear we’re turning into a society that isn’t looking for what the truth is, but instead looking for what confirms what we already want to believe.
If people don’t want their views challenged, they can easily consume news that fits the worldview they already have.
Even those who aren’t looking for their views to be justistified can have a hard time finding reliable sources of information.
Reliable news sources occasionally have to resort to click-bait titles and shocking images to get the clicks they need to keep the lights on, which can cause readers confusion as to what the news source is trying to tell them.
I try to make an effort to check sources and take bias into an account, but I, too, am guilty of having gut reactions to flashy headlines.
Being media literate isn’t easy.
You’re fighting a system designed to target specific demographics with enticing pictures and headlines.
It requires attention to detail, research and most of all, a desire to know the truth.
I try to avoid sites both liberal and conservative I know tend to get the facts wrong or mislead their viewers and we should all make an effort to do so as well.
One method I use when fact checking a story is looking at the sources they cite in order to determine if their source possibly has any biases or if their data was collected in a scientific manner.
We should all make an effort to ask ourselves: “Is this a source I can trust?” and “What motivation did the writer have when writing this story?”
If people didn’t care about where their information came from or who was giving it to them, what would that mean for the media creators themselves?
“A lack of media literacy would be extremely negative for society as a whole. Fake news would run rampant from lack of verification and bias. People would be more likely to believe everything they hear or see and take it at face value without bothering to verify the information,” said Introduction to Mass Communication Associate Adjunct Professor Haley Pitto.
Without a media literate public, we stand to allow political leaders and mouthpieces to manipulate us into believing what they want us to believe. We allow them to control our thoughts and control who we are.
California has even taken steps to put Media Literacy education into law in September, in a bill authored by California Senator Bill Dodd.
California has taken its first step in improving media literacy.
It’s time for us as individuals to do the same.