Media Literacy Analysis Essay, Free Sample for Everyone

Published: 2022-04-05
Media Literacy Analysis Essay, Free Sample for Everyone
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Social media
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1318 words
11 min read

Perhaps the most wide-reaching effect of social media and the age of information is the advent of false news and misrepresentations. Every person with an internet connection has been turned into a journalist who can potentially inform (or misinform) their followers on Twitter, Facebook, and other social sites. The followers are then likely to misinform their followers and their followers'' followers in an endless cycle of misinformation that often extends over the whole world. In this libelous atmosphere, it is utterly imperative that we as the consumers of information and news from the web sphere develop critical thinking skills that can allow us to debunk false information.

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Even more worrisome is the current trend in misinformation that has seen unfriendly groups employ fake news and sensationalism to spread lies for political gain. The 2016 Presidential Election in the US brought out the real destructive power of fake news. The use of propaganda in the social networking sites has been increasing ever since, with more and more people disseminating fake news in the hope of influencing public opinion. Experts and scientists agree that the sensationalistic nature of false news, the somewhat fictional bend to their truth, contributes in a big way to their being shared online more than true stories. False news are shared most before, during, and after big events when the curiosity of the masses is at its height. This is because, at its core, false news preys on the ignorance of the reader to whatever they are reading. Those who fall victim to the lies of false news are most often those with no ways or incentive to verify the accuracy of the information received.

After the recent shooting in a public school, some of the statements attributed to various prominent political leaders bring to mind Marco Rubio's fate after the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 when he was falsely quoted as saying that felons should be allowed to own guns but not to vote. Coming at a time when Marco was considering a run for the US presidency, the false quotes showed him in an unfavorable light. It is also highly like that those who did not follow-up to verify the truth were prejudiced to his candidature on account of his stance on gun rights and voting rights for felons. Another false piece of news to come after a public shooting at a public school is the recent remarks that the United States Donald Trump was considering a bizarre solution to mass shootings in school- closing them.

In my well-considered opinion, the two incidences relied on the laziness of readers to critically evaluate what they read and the characters of the public figures to gain a modicum a credence that would grant them wide sharing in social networks. The statement attributed to Marco Rubio is not too wild as to cause serious doubt in the mind of a casual reader and they follow the generally accepted thought patterns expected from him. Reading the quotes does not set off the falsehood alarms and make readers want to investigate. In the recent mass shooting during Donald Trump's presidency, the story, as with thousands others, relies on the public's perception of Trump as a wild card who frequently makes outrageous assertions and brands himself as an unpredictable public figure. Most people who read the two news items are likely to believe them and move on because their writers fashioned them for that very reason.

On the other hand, the world is currently reeling from the news reports that the US President Donald Trump is set to meet the equally bombastic leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un. In recent years, the dictator has set himself apart from other world leaders as a rogue autocrat who frequently goes against world bodies such as the United Nations and conducts missiles and atomic bombs with alarming frequency. North Korea and the United States of America stand on two extreme opposite ends of the government beam balance, with one enjoying massive democratic freedom in a capitalist economy while the other straggles with a communist government led by a hereditary dictatorial leader. There is no other recorded incident of presidents from the two countries meeting, but North Korean diplomats reached out to their American counterparts and the meeting is expected to take place before May 2018.

While the three incidences all contain wild possibilities of events that are not commonplace, only two are false and comprise of false/fake news. The third, appearing in major news networks including CNN, New York Times, and others, is entirely true. In checking news items for truth and veracity, the source is often more important than the content of the news. Credibility is one of the most important characteristic of news sources, and the ability to verify the credibility of a news source most important to readers of news. Reading news from credible, unaffiliated institutions like major news houses that stand to lose credibility when they air false news is the best bet to receiving true information. Whether it be news or scientific discoveries, a well-established institution is less likely to disseminate false information than one whose credibility is in question. The mantra; 'the more you have, the more you stand to gain' applies in this case, with credibility being the commodity in question.

For judging between good and bad information, personal perceptions take the load of the bulk. Critical reading, the critical thinking skill that allows a person to question everything they read as they do so, is my most trusted tool in detecting bad information apart from those commonly accepted standards in grammatical quality, vocabulary, verb agreement and other such technical considerations. Critical reading allows me to question more than just the credibility of the source and perceive the likelihood of the events described in an article being true. My critical thinking instinct rings the alarm bells in most cases when the information I read contains falsehoods in it.

To analyze and verify information I perceive as being of poor quality, I often research on the information independently to look for seconding accounts. With so many sources of information being available online, it is always a matter of time before I come across an article corroborating what I had read before or outright rejecting the information as false. This is in line with my literacy skills of verification by research to find two or more sources of a particular piece of information. My exposure to numerous sources of information allows me to dismiss news or information found in 'alternative facts' news sources, however big their stature and apparent credibility they may boast on account of their wide readership. For example, information from Breitbart News can never be taken at face value on account of the website's proven track record of falsifying information. Other satirical news websites I also give a wide berth whenever verifying information online.

In conclusion, find debunking false information extremely helpful because it helps me preserve the integrity of my knowledge especially in current events and scientific and anthropological discoveries. Baloney and bullshit is the alternative facts and subtle falsehoods and the outright lies that fill the internet and poisons so much of their readers' critical thinking senses. More urgent, however, is the consideration that a whole industry thrives to misinform me and to benefit from the opinions I form based on falsehoods weaved by them. Priding myself in unobjectionable high-mindedness and free thought, I find it greatly offensive and strive to weed out misinformation and falsehoods from my share of information I consume. Intellectuals such as I survive on the closely guarded ability to sieve through a wide array of information to find the truth, and in the event when the truth is not immediately or conclusively evident, delay their judgment until such a time when it will be possible to form an opinion based on truth and verifiable fact rather than heresy.

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