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Media Literacy or Fake News: Develop Your Fact-Checking Skills: Some News Literacy Vocabulary

Definition of Terms

Vulnerability of truth

“No society can conduct the informed conversation necessary for civility, the resolution of disputes, or the judicious exercise of power and law if there is no agreement on basic facts. You cannot choose how to go forward if you cannot agree what just happened. Therefore it is necessary to agree that there are facts, or true propositions. In the West today, largely but not solely because of the advent of digital media, the truth is more vulnerable than it has been for a long time.” Amol Rajan

1) Fake news - False information deliberately circulated by those who have scant regard for the truth but hope to advance particular (often extreme) political causes and make money out of online traffic…energized by social media. Spreads deceit and pollutes the well of civility. Hostile to democratic process

2) False news - Information that is circulated by journalists who do not realize it is false… all unintended errors of fact in the history of journalism. Damages trust in media. False news not intentional

3) The use of the term fake news: - News source that someone doesn’t want to acknowledge and so uses the term fake news to justify silencing it. Censorship of the press numbs scrutiny. Hostile to democratic process

Amol Rajan (16, January, 2017)

In an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," host Chuck Todd pressed Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway about why the White House on Saturday had sent Spicer to the briefing podium for the first time to claim that "this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period."

4) Alternative Facts - False claims about the size of the crowd at President Donald Trump's inauguration given by press secretary to Donald Trump were not falsehoods but instead were “alternative facts”.


Related closely to the following:

  • Propaganda: The systematic dissemination of information, esp. in a biased or misleading way, in order to promote a political cause or point of view. Also: information disseminated in this way; the means or media by which such ideas are disseminated. (OED)
  • Disinformation: The dissemination of deliberately false information, esp. when supplied by a government or its agent to a foreign power or to the media, with the intention of influencing the policies or opinions of those who receive it; false information so supplied. (OED)
  • Psychological warfare: The use (originally as a military strategy) of tactics intended to undermine the morale or allegiance of one's opponent or opponents, as opposed to physical force. (OED)

Provided by Kent Carrico, February, 2017


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