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How We Can Learn to Reject Fake News in The Digital World

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Fake news is surfacing on most channels, whether it be viewed on television, Facebook, or YouTube. Many people have difficulty deciphering whether the news is true or false as well. There are several theories that play into such explanations as well. One interesting one is a mass communication theory called cultivation theory. This posits that the more news watched, the more likely a person is to believe everything broadcasted. This is detrimental, because audiences do not utilize critical thinking when viewing, they just believe exactly what is shown to them. Luckily, by utilizing metaliterary, people can be less susceptible to believing fake news.

Fake news is very harmful in nature, it creates misconceptions and confusion of reality. An example would be the misconceptions of Islam, due to Islamophobia. Although, real events such as ISIS attacks have occurred, the news over dramatizes these accounts. This is done for several reasons. However, the main purpose of producing fake news is to get religious viewers to share the same opinions and beliefs as those who broadcast them. Fake news is always provided to obtain or reach some goal, without such a vision, there would be absolutely no need for it. One may question how individuals can so easily be persuaded into believing all that is seen and heard, and the cultivation theory helps explain such rational.

Cultivation theory was composed by George Gerbner amid the mid-1960’s. In composing this hypothesis, places that the more TV one watches, the more probable they are to think all that they see on said channels match reality. These thoughts surfaced when the impacts of media were first being examined. Research on the impacts of discernment considered exceptionally critical after the advancement of TV. High recurrence watchers have extraordinary troubles unraveling which parts of TV and genuine and which ones are false, so they simply believe everything being exhibited. Which appears to be simpler to them. Thusly, in any case, these watchers have a vastly different world view, one more degenerate and fierce in nature. This is only one theory that showcases how people can become stuck in the lies and ways of thinking of the elite who produce such fake news (Mass Communication Theory,2013).

However, there are certainly ways around such issues produced by corrupt officials, who simply want individuals brain washed and unable to think critically. The fix to such issues is metaliterary and metacognition. Metaliterary is terminology to explain the critical thinking strategies for audiences to decipher information presented online. Metacognition allows audiences to examine their own ways of literacy. By using these strategies, one has a better attack method to determining the falsified news. Each of these terms and strategies are extremely important to people for several reasons. As explained before, relying on fake news is highly dangerous. If we did not question these news broadcasts and updates, we would face even more issues in the future. It is commonly known that many stories of fake news have surfaced, so now we are responsible for discerning the reality, because it won’t be done for us. Understanding one’s own literacy, which is done with metacognition, can be extremely beneficial when trying to use practices of metaliteracy

Canvas stated that metaliterary falls into four major domains. These include: behavioral, cognitive, affective, and metacognitive. Each are essential to fully grasp the concepts and help decipher truth from false in news articles and broadcasts. Behavioral includes what students should do after learning such concepts. Cognitive explains what students should know after learning metaliteracy. Affective helps explain changes in behavior and attitudes after learning such skills and lastly metacognition. Metacognition, as we learned before includes examination of one’s own literacy. The website also explains how metaliteracy is a continuing process. This is true, because the information provided online is constantly fluid. Therefore, one must continuously work towards the ability to successful determine the truth from the false in news (Canvas, N.D.).

When questioning the need for metaliteracy over regular literacy, Ireland referenced the authors we studied in class, while also briefing on such topics. According to Ireland (2017): “Is the term information literacy enough? Mackey and Jacobson say no, “the emergence of social media and collaborative online communities requires a reframing of information literacy as a metaliteracy that supports multiple literacy types.”7 I agree, and so I have started to embrace the term metaliteracy. They further explain, “metaliteracy promotes critical thinking and collaboration in a digital age, providing a comprehensive framework to effectively participate in social media and online communities.”8 Metaliteracy more accurately includes other, more specific, kinds of information literacy, such as media literacy, digital literacy, visual literacy, and so much more” (Ireland, p.1.,2017).

That leaves us with a simple question on exactly how can this be done, how can we avoid, or at least decipher fake news? There are several steps that can help us with choosing credible sources from bias ones. First, we must see from where the information is coming from, and determine what can be gained and lost from portrayal of fake news in these outlets. Next, after this is done, we should evaluate the author, do they appear to be honest or bias. By looking at the outlet (magazines, television, or social media), and then the author, we can better understand the validity in their reports. These tactics take years to master, and as Canvas stated, it is a continual process.

In conclusion, fake news overflows the internet, moreso than other outlets that provide news or information as well. Therefore, metaliteracy approaches deem more successful than typical literacy does. Understanding one’s own literacy can greatly enhance metaliteracy. If we comprehend ourselves, we can begin to successfully comprehend the literacy of others as well. Although such tactics may appear to be tedious and time consuming, they are completely worth it. By being able to evaluate and sort truth from false information is a skill that many people lack, and more people need.

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