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News Literacy Toolkit

Trends in Public News Consumption

Fake News & Social Media

Facebooks' Face News Problem, Explained (Vox, November 16, 2016):
Discusses the increase in fake news sites and stories and its connections to social media

Fake News Is a Convenient Scapegoat, but the Big 2016 Problem Was the Real News (Vox, December 15, 2016)

If a Story Is Viral, Truth May Be Taking a Beating. (New York Times, December 9, 2013)

Fixation on Fake News Overshadows Waning Trust in Real Reporting (New York Times, November 18, 2016)

Facebook's Fight Agains Fake News Was Undercut by Fear of Conservative Backlash. (Gizmodo, November 14, 2016)

Marty Kaplan on Why the Media Ignores Climate Change (Interview with Bill Moyers, July 11, 2013):
Media scholar discusses why mainstream news media limits its reporting on climate change and leaves much of this work to outlets like The Daily Show.

Search Engines & Bias

Often we perceive search engines like Google give us objective results. Some research indicates that this is untrue.

Beware Online Filter Bubbles (TED Talk, March 2011): Discusses how the personalization of the Internet influences the information we see.

When Algorithms Discriminate (The Upshot, New York Times, July 9, 2015)

Google, Democracy, and the Truth about Internet Search (The Guardian, December 4, 2016)

Google Is Not Just a Platform: It Frames, Shapes, and Distorts How We See the World (The Guardian, December 11, 2016)

"Post-Truth": Word of the Year 2016

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is "post-truth." The adjective "post-truth" means "relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief" (Oxford Dictionaries).

Oxford Dictionaries explains that though the concept of post-truth has existed for the past decade, its usage appears to have dramatically increased since Brexit (the EU referendum in the United Kingdom) and the U.S. Presidential election. 

The apparently growing relevance of the term "post-truth" suggests a need for all individuals to evaluate information, and in particular political news, with scrutiny.

Election 2016

A Divided and Pessimistic Electorate (Pew Research Center, November 10, 2016)

Behind Trump's Victory: Divisions by Race, Gender, Education (Pew Research Center, November 9, 2016)

"Did Social Media Ruin the Election?" (NPR, November 8, 2016):
Discusses the influence that social media has on the tone and accuracy of political discourse, particularly given the speed and concision of platforms like Twitter

Election 2016: Campaigns as a Direct Source of News (Pew Research Center, July 18, 2016)