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Investigation: The Problematic Rise of Media Literacy Education

"The progressive politics of those backing information and media literacy bills in some states give skeptics further pause..."

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Investigation by Ben Weingarten originally published by RealClearInvestigations and RealClearWire

New Jersey is enlisting public-school teachers and librarians to show children how to combat what it calls the grave threat of disinformation

“Our democracy remains under sustained attack through the proliferation of disinformation,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in signing the nation’s first law mandating “information literacy” instruction for all K-12 students. The law, which aims to provide students with the “critical thinking” skills necessary to differentiate between “facts, points of view, and opinions” will, Murphy proclaimed, ensure “that our kids … possess the skills needed to discern fact from fiction.” 

At a time when the nation’s political and thought leaders are wrestling over the meaning of facts and truth, and distinctions between disinformation, misinformation and plain old information, the New Jersey bill is part of a growing effort to have teachers tell students how to settle these questions. 

Since 2016, ten states controlled by Democratic legislators, and three run by Republicans, have passed “media literacy” laws.  

Demand for media literacy education has seemingly grown in the “fake news” age, buoying bills like New Jersey’s, which had languished for years, only to pass with overwhelming bipartisan support.  

Media literacy advocates such as Erin McNeill, President of Media Literacy Now, say the goal is to teach students “how to consume information, not what information to consume.”  

But other educational experts see information and media literacy as inherently political, or minimally ripe for politicization. 

The “guise of ‘media literacy,’” writes John Sailer, a senior fellow at the National Association of Scholars, “often functions as a trojan horse, casting certain political views” – conservative ones, say critics – “as prima facie wrong and biased.”  

The progressive politics of those backing information and media literacy bills in some states give skeptics further pause – concerns heightened by rhetoric like that of Gov. Murphy, who framed New Jersey’s bill as responsive to the “violent insurrection” of Jan. 6, 2021.

Read the entire investigation here.
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Investigation by Ben Weingarten – This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.

Deneen Borelli

Deneen Borelli is the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation. Deneen is a contributor with Newsmax Broadcasting. She is a former Fox News contributor and has appeared regularly on “Hannity,” “Fox & Friends,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” and “America’s Newsroom.” She has also appeared on Fox Business Network programs “Making Money with Charles Payne,” “The Evening Edit with Liz MacDonald,” and “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.” Previously, Deneen appeared on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC and C-SPAN. In addition to television, Deneen co-hosted radio programs on the SiriusXM Patriot channel with her husband Tom. Recently, Deneen co-hosted the Reigniting Liberty podcast with Tom. Deneen is a frequent speaker at political events, including the FreedomWorks 9.12.2009 March on D.C. which drew a crowd estimated at over 800,000 people. Deneen is also an Ambassador with CloutHub.com, a social media platform that promotes free speech, and with the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) which advances policies that put Americans first. Deneen testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources in May 2011 and before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in December 2011. Previously, Deneen was a BlazeTV.com host, Outreach Director with FreedomWorks.org overseeing its Empower.org outreach program, a Project 21 Senior Fellow, and Manager of Media Relations with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Prior to joining CORE, Deneen worked at Philip Morris USA for 20 years. During her corporate career at Philip Morris she worked in various positions, her last as Project Management Coordinator in the Information Management department where she was responsible for the department’s mandated quality processes, communications, sales information and database management. Deneen began her Philip Morris career as a secretary and advanced to positions of increasing responsibilities. Deneen worked full-time and attended classes at night for 11 years to earn her B.A. in Managerial Marketing from Pace University, New York City. Deneen served on the Board of Trustees with The Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York. She appeared in educational videos for children, worked as a runway fashion model, and auditioned for television commercials. Her interests include ancient history, pistol target shooting, photography, and volunteering at her church. Deneen currently resides in Connecticut with her husband Tom.

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