How denialists weaponize media literacy and what to do about it

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Nobody believes that the Earth is flat, but there are a lot of pathetic people who will do anything for attention (by whom I mean the stupid fucking journalists who try to waste my time with ZOMG flat earther rocket will he ZOMG).


So is this critique of media literacy education to be regarded as an example of media literacy education?


Of course the Earth isn’t flat. It’s hollow. Obviously.


I would characterise the problem as: the average person can learn how to pick out lies from a sea of truth, but not the other way round. We can train ourselves to read reputable news critically, but there is no training that will let you synthesize a workable model of reality directly from the unfiltered spume of whatever anyone in the world chooses to post on social media.

One of the threads of hope I cling to is that actual, real news organisations will figure out how to leverage their curated nature as a selling point. Like, “the only way you will see something in the New York Times is if it’s true and it matters”, which Facebook can never say. But to really sell that claim, they’d have to get a lot more hardcore; no more reporting tweets as news, no more trying to morph into 90s-Yahoo “portals”, and (IMO) no advertising.

Anyway, if people have to roll their own news, then we’re headed for medieval levels of informedness, and no amount of media literacy can change that.


I find it an interesting correlation that people who deny those with altruistic intent assume largely selfish or narcissistic motives on their behalf. Given that most people who speak publicly about their professional endeavors are salaried individuals, ignoring their contribution to the progress of society on the grounds they are either attention-seeking or money-grabbing is the intellectual equivalent of “I am rubber, you are glue”.

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Dear Cory @doctorow, this is the wrong end of the stick:

boyd worries that “google it” is being proposed as the answer to “fake news” – search engines are gameable,

Seriously: I just need to take a walk in the current upscale rural neighborhood I’m visiting to find some graffiti asking everyone to “Google it”. Chemtrails? Mind control? Rapist Muslim immigrants? The pill killing unborn children? Autism by vaccinations? Inside job nine-eleven? Just Google it!1!11

The hell, there’s even a weirdo using chalk to write about mind control by MILK, all around Frankfurt am Main main station, with something like “GOOGELT nach Milchverschwörung” and suchlike EVERY fucking time.

A fool who thinks Google, or the internet in general, would make it easier to counter bullshit.

Even in Usenet times, we knew this. Just metager for the Bielefeld Verschwörung if you don’t know I’m right already. Or altavista it.


That still leaves the problem of news organisations who decided that lies sell better than the truth, like Fox News, The Daily Mail and The Sun.


Some people still believe that story. :frowning_face:


The world is not hollow. It is filled with creamy creamy nougat.


I have met actual flat earthers. They truly believe the Earth is flat. They do exist. People don’t need to live in the real world to survive any more. We have made it so even the dumbest bag of rocks and the looniest religious nut can survive, and even thrive, without suffering one bit for their madness. They just group in communities that reinforce their madness.


The world is a Cadbury cream egg. To the mines!


This was faster when I read it the first time; since when are TEDtalks over 3 minutes?

Be affected castes (Drow, say; but rural caregivers in principality, and people whose high school went up to 8th grade on the mean.) To persist long enough to read the news on using sunlight on CO2 and soot to get superconductors and fresh air, they reasonably expect from having a working relation with their amygdala that:

  • the need for it was only to tease them
  • the state/county license for the knack is just a new and now more inevitable financial abuse
  • the attention cost in perpetual defense against sexual and competitive harassment will come to financial debt soon
    filters away concerns about (default aversion from)
  • selecting a local corroboration
  • reading for results distinct from message affect
  • attribution of agency, artist, studio, gallery, reporter or overall confidence itself
    though RT ‘The more you question, the more you allcaps’ is special shvitzposting.
    I’ve admitted so many horrible things; we must be friends.

Wanting the news (often well below 40% trustability in the given slot) to be consistent in a mode of hating justice is sort of nice. Making nopesauce is such a horrid privilege and the champion editors^Wmixologists who make stories and figures get along, do so quietly.
We need better spackle (liability models) and journalist polity if we’re filling in facts, as Dana says; nice call! [Fits overwintered twigs into gaps in wall to seal it up. Kidding!] what? Sponsored the green gobos?


Exactly right. And within those communities are people who tend to want to believe the unbelievable. It is taken as fact that absence of evidence to support their claim is actually a kind of proof of its truth, otherwise the establishment would not be trying so consistently to disprove their nut job beliefs. A certain type of personality just clings harder to their fantasy, as others offer proof of its falsehood.

There is no cure for this.

and its filled with Nazi’s who slipped in through the gateway in the Brazilian forests. That’s why they built a road through the jungles to get to it.

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I saw this movie when I was a teen. It was called “The Stuff”.


And within those communities are people who tend to want to believe the unbelievable

I grew up rurally and I find that in the Facebook-age, the local community reinforces the unbelievable from an innate desire to not “be the rube” in the room. This desire is fed upon by media like Infowars who sell the idea “don’t be the rube”.

Small towns have a lot of higher education chips on their shoulders (still!) and find champions like Mike Rowe who push trade education. There’s a legitimate argument against the need for throwing your money into Big Education but I find people take overcompensation for a lack of a degree a step too far in trying to prove something online by grabbing on to some of these unbelievable beliefs. They didn’t go to college, but they’re no dummy they’ll have you know - they know climate change is a paid-for idea.

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Not to mention the news outlets that have realised that carefully-curated half-truths are much more effective than outright lies. The NYT, the Washington Post, etc etc

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Dangerous nonsense at the tips of the fingers:

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