Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Pictures

Melanie Agredano

Professor Ramos

English 1B

8 April 2019

Should We Believe Everything We Hear?

            In America, the media is currently fighting a battle between the real and the “alternative”, or “fake”, facts. The battle between CNN and Fox News trying to prove which one is a reliable source for current news is subtle yet damaging, as they are the biggest news providers in the nation. Ever since the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump has been spreading the phrase “fake news” to try and contradict news articles that he did not agree with. Consequently, this led to people beginning to question just how reliable and accurate the news that is being delivered to the American public is. The questioning of accurate and reliable facts has been circling around to the point where people are trying to find ways to determine what is real and what is “fake”.

            If the government starts incorporating more of a critical thinking curriculum in public schools, students will be able to determine the difference between what is true and what is false. For example, Pattison explains the goal of one program designed to help students become more aware of truth and inaccurate news by stating, “Our goal is to help students understand the events, to question evidence, to ask questions that reveal the deeper issues, and to become skeptical of reports in the newspaper, without becoming cynics”. This goal is one that should be implemented not just in one program at one school or a couple. It should be implemented throughout the nation to help students realize the difference between what is real and what is a hoax. Especially nowadays when children are able to look things up for themselves, they will come across various fake news and it is up to them to determine the accuracy and validity of that news report they find. In addition to critical thinking with news, according to Murawski, there are long term benefits to incorporating critical thinking into a student’s education. With critical thinking, a student can open new doors and be more open minded when they are looking for a job or when they are working. It helps them be more innovative with thinking because they wont focus on one thing solely, they will pick apart a problem and come up with different solutions until they find one that has the least amount of negative implications. The U.S. should focus on helping students learn how to think ahead and prove the accuracy of things, especially when it comes to the news, because it allows them to be more aware of what they hear, see, and do.

Taking into consideration how more aware people are made when it comes to reading a news article or watching the news helps society realize how news can be sometimes twisted to persuade people onto certain views. In fact, there are people called fact-checkers who try to make sure that what is being spread online is cold, hard facts (Steinmetz). These kinds of people help limit the amount of fake news being spread, creating a more positive outlook at those kinds of news. Keeping fabricated news to a minimum has allowed some people to try and take a second look at certain news and create different software to help people scan websites to measure their accuracy. However, it is also stated that the number of fact checkers is very limited which can lead to extremely hard work due to the rapid spread of fake news with modern technology including social media (Steinmetz). Trying to contain false reports is harder now because anyone can post a news report about a situation and make it seem extremely accurate. Some people do not want to take a few extra steps to determine the accuracy of an article, but others are not educated in figuring out how accurate the article may be, hence why learning to distinguish facts from fiction should be implemented in schools.

            The fact checkers mentioned above are only a slim part of the population, yet the internet is an online world where anyone can post anything and get away with what they say. For instance, tech giants, like Facebook and Google, have tried to change the way they spot fake news, but the majority of the time, they tend to have a more liberal, biased network, leaving room for others to criticize their stances (Murphy). Some people can think that a certain ideology is a fact, while others believe in a different stance. There can never really be one fact, especially when it comes to politics. Furthermore, Lisa Crate reveals a vital point when she states, “Today’s news is reported in real time and is often dictated not only by what is happening in the world, but what the audience wants to hear and see.” There is always going to be two sides to a story, especially in politics. Fake news is the most apparent in the political field due to the two opposing sides here in the United States. The two political parties have started to brand one another as “fake news” when it comes to certain news articles or interviews about one another. Fake news has been the definition of contradicting one another with different opposing views, which makes it even harder to define what is real and what is false. That is the reason critical thinking should take place in the education system, so students can determine and develop their own point of view based on what information is provided to them.

            Essentially, without critical thinking, people would be left to have others decide what is real and what is fake for them. The news being spread can be easily manipulated to persuade them into having a certain point of view rather than seeing it from all sides and determining the accuracy themselves. There are many methods of preventing the issue of fake news, including fact checkers and more measures by tech companies, but the most seemingly reasonable one is that of incorporating critical thinking all across American classrooms. It provides room for students to develop their own way of thinking and the ability to determine the real “fake news”.

Annotated Bibliography

Crate, Lisa. “Fake News vs. Real News.” Education Digest, vol. 83, no. 1, Sept. 2017, pp. 4–7. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=124671789&site=ehost-live.

            This article explains the measures that teachers can take to help students determine the accuracy of social media posts. It also points out the vulnerability of social media when it comes to determining what is real and what is fake news. This article will further help my main solution of implementing more critical thinking classes with a more real-world approach. The reliability of this article is valid because it comes from “Education Digest” which is an educational magazine designed to help educators, parents, and students to learn new approaches to learning and strengthen the education system.

Murawski, Linda M. “Indeed, the Brain Seems to Be on Auto-Pilot in This Situation. Critical Thinking According to Ruggiero Is More AtCritical Thinking in the Classroom…and Beyond.” Journal of Learning in Higher Education, vol. 10, no. 1, 2014, files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1143316.pdf

            The journal explains the concept of critical thinking and how it affects classrooms in the nation. It also explains the benefits of incorporating critical thinking into teaching. I chose this article because it explains more of the future benefits of integrating critical thinking into the education system. The article is credible because it was written by a professor with an EdD and is published in an educational journal.

Murphy, James. “Unnoteworthy NEWS: Fake News, Once Dubbed ‘Yellow Journalism,’ Is as Old as News Itself, but Nowadays, with the Slant given by Major Media to Most Reporting, Major Media Have Themselves to Blame.” New American (08856540), vol. 34, no. 4, Feb. 2018, pp. 21–23. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=127820657&site=ehost-live.

            The article gives insight on the history of fake news and how its been shaped the way it is today. It mentions how technology is rapidly expanding and it takes news articles, both real and fake, to a new level of reach in society. It also explains the measures that companies have tried taking to prevent fake news from spreading and how news media is trying to take advantage of the internet to spread their own biased views. I chose this article to help provide more points in my essay about some possible solutions to fake news and how difficult and complex some can be. This article is reliable because this author admits the fake news issue is real and has been happening for a long time. The author also includes statistics and research to provide further explanation of the article.

Pattison, Darcy. “Fake News: Teaching Skeptics, Not Cynics.” Knowledge Quest, vol. 47, no. 1, Sept. 2018, pp. 62–64. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=131625599&site=ehost-live.

            The author of the article tries to address the problem of hoaxes and fake news by using a children’s book to get children to understand that not everything is accurate or even real. She explains the different reactions of the children as well and how these sorts of experiments can help children grow into more reasoning and factual children. She also mentions how there are programs that are trying to push for this type of education in schools. I chose this article to help the idea of implementing more classes and a new curriculum to help students distinguish facts from fiction. The article is reliable because it has been peer reviewed and claimed as an academic journal.

Steinmetz, Katy. “The Real Fake News Crisis.” Time, vol. 192, no. 7, Aug. 2018, pp. 26–31. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=131153625&site=ehost-live.

            The article explains how society is facing an issue in determining how real online articles are and how vulnerable people can be when determining whether the things they’re reading are accurate or not. It also explains how easy manipulated people can be while we try to find a solution to this issue online. I will be using this article in my essay to help back up one solution to the issue of fake news. The author has credentials in both English and Journalism and included data from various researchers and included studies and different solutions to an issue.

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