Recalibrating Our Approach to Misinformation

Michael Caulfield, EdSurge, Dec 27, 2018
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I generally appreciate what Michael Caulfield has to say, but I haven't been in agreement with his approach to fake news. And I really dislike his characterization of critical thinking as "the thoughts and prayers of the educational industry." Now to be fair, he is talking about it being "wrongly applied". He writes, "Because the goal of disinformation is to capture attention, and critical thinking is deep attention.... whenever you give your attention to a bad actor, you allow them to steal your attention from better treatments of an issue." Well, true, but how are you supposed to know a priori who the bad actor is? Caulfield's approach to critical thinking is to identify (somehow) trustworthy sources. But real critical thinking involves looking at an issue from multiple perspectives, not a deep focus on a single source. So neither Caulfield's problem nor his solution applies here.

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