Heeft mediageletterdheid averechts gewerkt ? – Danah Boyd

Een artikel Did Media Literacy Backfire? trok onlangs mijn aandacht op Linkedin. Schrijfster van het artikel, Danah Boyd, is de mening toegedaan dat mediageletterdheid -in dit geval in de VS- aan de basis ligt van de desinformatie gedurende de laatste presidentsverkiezingen. Sommigen, vooral progressieven, vragen daarom an increased commitment to media literacy programs  anderen geloven eerder in solutions that focus on expert fact-checking and labeling. Geen van beiden bieden een oplossing want they fail to take into consideration the cultural context of information consumption that we’ve created over the last thirty years, stelt ze

Danah Boyd vertelt dat ze op basis van een onderzoek dat ze deed bij tieners vb. ontdekte hoe ze hun foute ideeën over seks en zwangerschap niet met deskundigen bespraken maar lieten bevestigen door online websites. En omdat hen verteld werd dat Wikipedia een niet te vertrouwen bron was maar meteen bij Google hun licht waren gaan opsteken en hun in aanvang al foute meningen daar ‘bevestigd’ vonden. Ze gaat verder als volgt:

Understanding what sources to trust is a basic tenet of media literacy education. When educators encourage students to focus on sourcing quality information, they encourage them to critically ask who is publishing the content. Is the venue a respected outlet? What biases might the author have? The underlying assumption in all of this is that there’s universal agreement that major news outlets like the New York Times, scientific journal publications, and experts with advanced degrees are all highly trustworthy. Maar ze stelt meteen: Think about how this might play out in communities where the “liberal media” is viewed with disdain as an untrustworthy source of information…or in those where science is seen as contradicting the knowledge of religious people…or where degrees are viewed as a weapon of the elite to justify oppression of working people. Needless to say, not everyone agrees on what makes a trusted source. Students are also encouraged to reflect on economic and political incentives that might bias reporting. Follow the money, they are told. Now watch what happens when they are given a list of names of major power players in the East Coast news media whose names are all clearly Jewish. Welcome to an opening for anti-Semitic ideology.

Dan volgt een absoluut verbazingwekkend # pizzagate-verhaal dat empowered individuals naar de wapens deed grijpen:

In the United States, we believe that worthy people lift themselves up by their bootstraps. This is our idea of freedom. What it means in practice is that every individual is supposed to understand finance so well that they can effectively manage their own retirement funds. And every individual is expected to understand their health risks well enough to make their own decisions about insurance. To take away the power of individuals to control their own destiny is viewed as anti-American by so much of this country. You are your own master.

Across this country, major news outlets went to great effort to challenge conspiracy reports that linked John Podesta and Hillary Clinton to a child trafficking ring supposedly run out of a pizza shop in Washington, DC. Most people never heard the conspiracy stories, but their ears perked up when the mainstream press went nuts trying to debunk these stories. For many people who distrust “liberal” media and were already primed not to trust Clinton, the abundant reporting suggested that there was something to investigate.

Most people who showed up to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria to see for their own eyes went undetected. But then a guy with a gun decided he “wanted to do some good” and “rescue the children.” He was the first to admit that “the intel wasn’t 100%,” but what he was doing was something that we’ve taught people to do — question the information they’re receiving and find out the truth for themselves.

For many Americans who have watched their local newspaper disappear, major urban news reporting appears disconnected from reality. The issues and topics that they feel affect their lives are often ignored.

Jaren werd de Amerikanen voorgehouden dat ervaring het haalde van expertise maar vooral gemarginaliseerde bevolkingsgroepen als de zwarte Amerikanen en nu ook een steeds grotere blanke bevolkingsgroep voelen zich genegeerd in een bepaalde pers:

Whites also want their experiences to be recognized, and they too have been pushing for the need to understand and respect the experiences of “the common man.” They see “liberal” “urban” “coastal” news outlets as antithetical to their interests because they quote from experts, use cleaned-up pundits to debate issues, and turn everyday people (e.g., “red sweater guy”) into spectacles for mass enjoyment.

Op medisch gebied leidt dit volgens Danah Boyd ook tot:

Why should we be surprised that most people are getting medical information from their personal social network and the Internet? It’s a lot cheaper than seeing a doctor, and both friends and strangers on the Internet are willing to listen, empathize, and compare notes. Why trust experts when you have at your fingertips a crowd of knowledgeable people who may have had the same experience as you and can help you out?

Worstelen met nep nieuws. Sinds de verkiezingen is iedereen geobsedeerd door nep nieuws, omdat experts “domme” mensen de schuld ervan geven niet te begrijpen wat  “echt” is. De gesuggereerde oplossing hiervoor is op zijn best neerbuigend geweest: er zijn meer experts nodig om nep content te labelen. Meer mediageletterdheid is nodig om mensen te leren hoe ze niet de dupe worden van nep nieuws. En als we nu gewoon druk op Facebook uitoefenen om de verspreiding van nep-nieuws te beteugelen, zullen alle problemen opgelost worden.

Addressing so-called fake news is going to require a lot more than labeling. It’s going to require a cultural change about how we make sense of information, whom we trust, and how we understand our own role in grappling with information. Quick and easy solutions may make the controversy go away, but they won’t address the underlying problems.

Waar haal je dan finaal de waarheid? Haar conclusie:

In the United States, we’re moving towards tribalism, and we’re undoing the social fabric of our country through polarization, distrust, and self-segregation. And whether we like it or not, our culture of doubt and critique, experience over expertise, and personal responsibility is pushing us further down this path. The path forward is hazy. We need to enable people to hear different perspectives and make sense of a very complicated — and in many ways, overwhelming — information landscape. We cannot fall back on standard educational approaches because the societal context has shifted. We also cannot simply assume that information intermediaries can fix the problem for us, whether they be traditional news media or social media. We need to get creative and build the social infrastructure necessary for people to meaningfully and substantively engage across existing structural lines. This won’t be easy or quick, but if we want to address issues like propaganda, hate speech, fake news, and biased content, we need to focus on the underlying issues at play. No simple band-aid will work.

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