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Media Smarts: Question the source

Media Smarts

We are constantly surrounded by media:  Television, social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube etc.), radio, newspapers, games, and magazines. Individuals, groups, companies, and governments all send out messages constantly trying to inform and influence us. Companies want you to buy.  Politicians want you to support them by donating money and voting for them. News sources inform and influence by the stories that they choose to cover.

However, be skeptical.  Ask questions as you are listening to or reading this constant information coming your way.  Being a skeptical media consumer, and let’s face it we are all affected by media, will protect us. Skeptical means simply not being easily convinced and not accepting all we read, see, and hear at face value.

Ask yourself:

  • Who is sending this message and why?
  • Does this message sound real? Could it be fake news?
  • Does the person sending out these messages have the credentials to speak on the subject?

The news is full of reports about foreign governments influencing people in other countries in a negative way. Reportedly, Russian-backed accounts are posted all over United States and Canadian media, particularly Facebook and Twitter.

We cannot always figure out who is sending a message and even why they are sending their messages, but by being skeptical we may be less under the influence of unwanted or downright false information.

Read these media messages and see what questions come to mind:

From a CBC News Alert: “Bar-hopping linked to numerous recent COVID-19 cases in Winnipeg.”

Questions for the skeptic: Do you trust the news source? Who determined that the barhopping was linked to COVID cases? Does the news company have any reason to lie about this? Does this message sound like it could be real?

The Lincoln Project (via Twitter): “The United States has surpassed 7,000,000 cases of Coronavirus.  This continues to be the worst federal response in our nation’s history.”

Questions: Are these numbers accurate? Who writes the tweets for the Lincoln Project? What is their agenda and who do they support? Does this sound like it could be real?

This gets easier as you become more skeptical.

Be proud that you are a person who questions the source!

Here is another example.

Facebook user (name confidential): “Hmmm, yup a pandemic alright. Covid 19 is fake. Bow to your globalist oppressors.”

Now, what questions could you ask about this statement? 

What can you conclude about this Facebook post?

An effective way to deal with all media is to identify and/or question the source.