Did Media Literacy Backfire?

dana boyd, Points, Jan 07, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Danah boyd, despite the provocative title, sticks to a relatively mainstream analysis of recent media failures. She criticizes people's misuse of what might be called the basic elements of media literacy: questioning sources, empowering readers, and doing your own research. She suggests this leaves people unprepared deal with fake news or to even grasp what counts as truth in a chaotic and confused media landscape, and that media literacy (as depicted here) is leading us (or, at least, the U.S.) deeper into tribalism. But a return to the old order of experts and traditional media (which she seems sometimes to support and sometimes not) will not lead us out of the current morass. Nor, probably, is there a technological solution. We need to learn to see the world differently.

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