New Literacy: Don’t Trust Everything You Read in the Media

Casey Tremblay, Editor In Chief/Online Manager

News literacy is by wordpress.com’s definition: “the acquisition of 21st-century, critical-thinking skills for analyzing and judging the reliability of news and information, differentiating among facts, opinions and assertions in the media we consume, create and distribute.” In layman’s terms news, literacy is taking all biases, all angles, all political views, and forming a flexible and well-informed opinion of news. As teenagers news literacy is very overlooked. We believe everything we read and trust everything we hear. Most of the time we form our political opinions based on the adults in our lives and the people we look up to.

In today’s world with hundreds of news sources and numerous social media platforms, news and events are easily misconstrued and misinterpreted. Being educated on current events is crucial as high schoolers because in just a few years we’ll be voting and partaking in the world in ways  we never have before. Don’t walk around being the puppet to a single news source.  

CNN and Fox News are currently two of the most conflicting news sources. As President Trump is going through trials of impeachment the two news sources cover the topic with complete contradistiction. For example, all in the same day CNN let out an article speaking on Trump’s impeachment trials with the heading: “Impeachment, War, and Rally Crowds: Trump Made 49 False Claims Last Week.” Within the same hour, Fox News reported on the same topic with a headline that read: “Rep. Collins: The Truth is That Trump did Nothing Wrong.” How can they both be right? The truth is neither of them include facts without unbiased factual evidence. The key to examining the truth in media bias is news literacy. 

It is crucial to realize that news projected on sources like Instagram and Facebook can come from anybody, anywhere. News from these media sources requires no fact checking, and no journalistic background whatsoever. Anyone with an email can make an account and post what they believe to be news and wrongly influence thousands. There is no validation to theses stories. If you want to get news educated don’t credit these sources. 

It is also important to understand, no matter if your politics coincide with the bias of their articles, that most new sources have bias in their story angles and even in the things they chose to cover. If you only choose to read news from one source, your politics will lean toward their bias with no validation from the other side. For example, if you only watch CNN’s coverage of Trump’s trails you would find yourself believing he is without a doubt guilty. Whereas reading Fox News’s coverage would lead you to believe he is completely innocent and is being wrongly accused. The best thing that you can do as a news consumer is diversify the sources you take in your news from. If you want to know the truth about a current event, especially one being heavily debated, is to read articles from more than just one site. Read from FOX; CNN; MSNBC; New York Times; CNSNews, and many other news sources.

Television shows are not a news source. I repeat Television shows are not a news source. To some it may seem like common knowledge that late night talk shows such as Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and The View are not valid news sources yet others watch them with high affirmation. These shows however have very high liberal bias and use it with comic effect. They are not being watched for accuracy but for entertainment. 

As high school students the future is waiting for us. Some of us will be voting this year, others not for four more years. It is important to create your own political opinions based on your thoughts, not the thoughts of a reporter or a parent. Next time you go out and read an article check it with other news sites, and question its validity. Don’t take what the says media for truth. Take it with a grain of salt and really read on a topic before you quickly form an opinion from bias news reporters.