Media literacy, sounds a little confusing doesn’t it as I’m sure every person who can read and write considers themselves literate, and we all are to varying degrees.
But the disparity exists in what people want to believe rather than what is actually real.
One need only look at the countless conspiracy theories that prevail on the internet – everything from the rouge planet Nibiru hurtling towards planet earth that the powers that be are aware of but conspiring to keep humanity in the dark about the looming disaster to the Kennedy assassination, the lunar landing, depopulation through vaccinations, 911, and even Trump’s mindless assertion that millions of illegals voted in the election.
The lunar landing memes are perhaps the most hilarious as conspiracy theorists ask why hasn’t there been another and claim aliens on the dark side were discovered and ran the astronauts away.
They ignore the fact that no less than six manned landings have occurred, not much to be accomplished by yet another, budgetary cuts, and resources being devoted to other projects like a possible Mars landing.
What these “theories” all have in common is the lack of single shred of hard core verifiable evidence – not a problem though for the believers as such theories only require utterance and a negative proof.
Negative proof assumes the convoluted path of if a conspiracy can’t be substantiated then that alone is proof that a conspiracy exists….. part of the “cover up”.
If that sounds childish that’s because it is, and as Matt Bai points out in the below linked article the media’s culpability is obvious.
Trust in the media is at an all time low, and for good reason as they promote and thrive on controversy and sensationalism in addition to following the political ideology of ownership.
One would think “alternative” news sources provide the remedy, and to a point they can and are capable of doing so, but even a cursory scan of such sites is enough to understand that some follow the same formula as the very ones they will rail about and for some of the same reasons – ownership and the battle for viewers.
I find it funny that some of these sites act like the traveling medicine shows of the past selling their various elixirs, offering branded hats and articles of attire – but hey, they’re trying to make a buck and that’s what it’s about isn’t it?
What’s most telling of all are the “theories” issued accompanied by a doomsday date – a point in time that arrives and passes sans the predicted calamity – remember 2012?
And once the date passes what do the oracles do?
Nothing – not so much as a my bad, they just move on to yet another “theory” or “prophecy” and the believers dutifully follow along.
You would think as many times as they wind up with egg on their face they would slink away in embarrassment, but embarrassment isn’t part of the equation and the attention span of the believers is apparently egregiously short lived.
The media can and should be a valuable tool in the dissemination of fact, too often though it merely becomes the weapon of choice – a weapon that not only misleads and victimizes the truth but the public as well.
A little skepticism and that proverbial grain of salt aren’t a bad idea, no less so than making an effort to do the math.