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In an ironic twist, CNN’s Brian Stelter talked to a class of 8th graders recently about how to spot misinformation.
During a recent segment of his show, Reliable Sources, Stelter visited PS 207 in Queens, New York, to observe teacher Barbara King discuss the topic of misinformation with her students, as she has been doing for the last seven years.
According to Stelter, the teacher wants to “arm this 8th Grade class with the tools they will need in a world of information saturation.”
In King’s class, she puts “misinformation” into five categories: Satire, False Context, Imposter Content, Manipulated Content, and Fabricated Content.
During Stelter’s classroom visit, King explained her mission: “I feel it’s a skill that my students really need. There’s too much misinformation around us in the world and I want to give them some tools to make sense of what they’re seeing. [It’s a] real world problem. They start realizing, ‘I can utilize these skills in anything that I do.'”
The lesson appeared to be sinking in, as Stelter discovered during his post-class conversation with a few of the students.
“Do any of you feel like you try to correct friends or family now based on what you’ve learned?” Stelter inquired of the group.
As they all nodded their heads, one student said, “Maybe you want to believe [a fake article] but it’s not true and you have to, like, research if it’s really true.”
On it’s face, teaching students critical thinking skills has merit. King gets her lessons from the News Literacy Project, which purports to be a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, according to its website.
First Amendment proponents should be cautiously optimistic after reading the official NLP policy on censorship and misinformation: “Censorship as a means of combating misinformation could infringe on these constitutional rights. Additionally, it’s been shown that most governments that have adopted censorship policies to protect the public from misinformation end up using these policies to protect themselves and target critics.”
That CNN should be the one to highlight classes such as Ms. King’s is interesting, to say the least. Just last week, BPR reported on the latest job postings over at the network:
Hello Twitter! Some very exciting MEDIA JOBS to tell you about. I’m hiring 3 people for a new CNN team dedicated to covering misinformation. Thread about the team/jobs starts here. Please feel free to share far and wide, and if you’re interested, reach out or apply at the links.
— Alex Koppelman (@AlexKoppelman) January 18, 2022
Alex Koppelman, managing editor of CNN Business, went on to explain what misinformation was to CNN: “What do we mean by covering misinformation? Really it’s about covering reality: The uses, abuses, and distortions of it, the people twisting it, and the effect that has on all of us. We already do a lot of important work on this; we want to do more.”
Perhaps Koppelman was referring to the regular use of misinformation on his network; the reporting on many topics just over the last few years could fall into the category, including Nick Sandmann, “mostly peaceful protests,” Kyle Rittenhouse, Hunter Biden’s laptop (or lack thereof), and the Steele dossier, to name a few.
Over on Twitter, there were some users who noticed CNN’s lack of situational awareness:
Didn’t you spread fake Russiagate conspiracy theories for 4 years straight?
— Libertarian Party NH (@LPNH) January 23, 2022
Lol! If it has the CNN logo, it’s probably misinformation.
— Jeremy Knauff (@jeremyknauff) January 23, 2022
We all love critical thinking skills, but this segment comes across as little more than advertorial for the @NewsLitProject, which is of course partnered with @CNN & dozens of other legacy media dinosaurs desperate to hold onto their dwindling market share. pic.twitter.com/aWs5mzM4Ct
— Danny Hellman (@dannyhellman) January 23, 2022
This new Comedy Central standup special is so funny
— ELIJAH SCHAFFER 🇺🇸🇦🇺 (@ElijahSchaffer) January 24, 2022
Did they stand up and point when CNN and Stelter walked in??
— Dan-Yul-Son (@smats88) January 23, 2022
Did they show this picture in that class? pic.twitter.com/bc4dvEGzGG
— Paul Nelson (@paulanthony21) January 23, 2022
So @brianstelter showed up to teach kids what disinformation looks like, right?
His obsession with Mueller and Russia seems to come to mind. https://t.co/dnU9Qpo7iN
— Beth Baumann (@eb454) January 24, 2022
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