Will News Literacy Help Tackle Fake News in the United States?

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Fake news is more of a disgusting issue than an interesting one, and almost everyone we meet in the United States talks about it. In order to tackle and spot the fabricated news, some academicians have recently added a new “news literacy” module to journalism curriculum.

The issue of fake news became unprecedentedly widespread after the U.S. presidential elections and, especially, when President Donald Trump began accusing mainstream media of spreading fake news about his campaign and his presidency.

No doubt, some real fake news websites exist to spread propaganda and made-up stuff, and the results of these can be confused as real by U.S. news consumers. Unknown groups or parties created those websites to protect their own political or business interests via slamming, mocking and undermining rivals.

But, on other hand, the unfavorable real news is labeled as fake news mostly by President Trump. For example, he calls CNN FNN (Fake News Network) and The New York Times the "failing New York Times". He says these media outlets are spreading made-up stories to help his rivals, such as Hillary Clinton and many other Democrats.

Professor R. B. Brenner, director of the University of Texas School of Journalism and a former editor of The Washington Post, called news literacy as a great tool to fight against the menace of real fake news.

"The earlier, the better" to spread news literacy nationwide, he said. The university just began a news literacy class this semester that's meant to educate students on how the news consumers in the United States can be more knowledgeable in detecting fake news stories and images.

Nevertheless, Brenner said he remains concerned about  technological breakthroughs which could make it harder to detect fake articles and images.

He imagines there will “be more sophisticated ways to doctor images, and then there'll be technology to try to detect the doctored images, and then there'll be technology to try to deceive the detection," Brenner said.