Election 2016 Reveals a Glaring Deficiency in Critical Media Literacy

trumpmccarthy 2 2 2Very few regard the 2016 presidential election season as normal in any respect thanks to the unique reality TV talents of Donald Trump. His masterful seizure of our public discourse is endlessly discussed with every new outrageous statement he makes, many now questioning the journalism that is being practiced even by reputable news organizations.

Media analysis from respected sources such as Jay Rosen, Jeff Jarvis and the Columbia Journalism Review have weighed in about widespread journalistic malpractice, and CNN host Brian Stelter specifically criticized Fox News for greater public shaming.

But there is little analysis pointing to a more systemic problem, namely that our commercially driven media system combined with under-resourced non-profit media organizations serving audiences as citizens, not consumers, require the systematic teaching of critical media literacy at all K-12 and college levels of instruction.

Unlike all of the British Commonwealth countries and most of Western Europe, the U.S lags far behind in teaching basic media education. Entirely too few American citizens, including Supreme Court justices, are aware of practical explanations as to WHY we as a nation are experiencing such breathtaking sophistry, mendacity and manipulation of public discourse this election cycle.

A healthier balance of commercial and public media is unlikely to be realized in the U.S. for a very long time, in large part due to the paucity of critical media literacy skills among our citizenry. Perhaps a growing awareness of the dangers facing our democracy related to our hyper-commercial media system and scarce knowledge of media education that have allowed a rank demagogue the opportunity to actually become our president will open the American mind to this unexamined reality. Key organizations addressing this issue worth following:

Global Critical Media Literacy Project (GCMLP)

Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME)

Project Censored

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

News Literacy Project

Media Literacy and Digital Culture Program / Sacred Heart University

Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP) / Bournemouth University

Leave a Reply