Saddleback College Defines 'Fake News' For Students
Politics and Activism

Saddleback College Defines 'Fake News' For Students

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Saddleback Student Life Portal

Bright red hyperlinks read "Check your news source bias with this infographic" and "Learn how to spot 'Fake News." They beckoned my attention as I stumbled through Saddleback College's online library database. The newly added news literacy section of Saddleback's library page lies adjacent to bursts of information about MLA formatting and how to use the library search features.

While I never did find that ecological journal article I needed, I did discover my college's fascinating take on the spectrum of media biases:

The chart was created by Colorado attorney, Vanessa Otero. It has also been featured on MarketWatch and Jerz Literacy Web Blog and been retweeted on Twitter about 750 times while accumulating roughly one thousand likes.

She explains her rational behind the chart on her personal blog, "All Generalizations Are False." In this post, Otero expresses the need for literacy in a world of "easily digestible, visible information" and counters that trend with a some "easily digestible, visible information" of her own.

Much like Otero, Saddleback College has joined the conversation on free and truthful speech. Over the past few weeks, Saddleback's Associated Student Government and Pre-Law Society have worked with the president of Saddleback College to host events like its #UseYourVoice series which features speakers and seminars on students' right to free speech in the 21st century.

The college itself has narrowed its focus to the proper use of the first amendment, including quality of speech or research.

They are not alone. Facebook recently announced its plan to flag "disputed" news. Across the Pacific, the administration of Russian president Vladimir Putin will stamp disputed news sources with a red "FAKE" label across the page (literally). Interestingly, even Buzzfeed has become a critic of hyper-partisan, misleading news. It looks like President Trump will soon be forced to share the glory of declaring the falsity of alternative facts with many facets of society, domestically and abroad.

This image's creator - a self-identified "moderate-lefty" - has garnered Saddleback-sponsored power to impact the way that students interact with news, for better or for worse. But if you have disagreements with the arguments made in Ms. Otero's diagram, she offers a template for you to create your own here.

Would you update this diagram? If so, how?

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