I agree with danah boyd's point that the focus on fake news oversimplifies the problem and distracts us from bigger issues that contributed to the 2016 election outcome. Like dahah, I am concerned about the current tendency I note among my liberal friends, especially those who work in the area of media literacy, to focus on blaming the media for what happened on November 8th. I agree with danah that we need to heal the rifts that exist in our society along the lines of not only gender and race, but also class and political affiliation. Although she does not use the word "empathy," I believe that is what danah is hinting at when she talks about the need to listen to each other in the increasingly polarized world.
What I do not agree with is the author's simplified presentation of media literacy education. Not all media literacy educators talk about fake news as the key problem. Understanding what sources to trust is important in media literacy education, but that's not the end of it. I, for one, certainly don't teach my students that we must simply find experts and trust them. My main issue with this piece, thus, is the way danah boyd describes media literacy education, ignoring the complexity of approaches that exist in the field.
Critiques of the piece have pointed out correctly that danah boyd paradoxically engages in polarization as she is describing its problems. In the best tradition of marketable media texts, the title is designed to attract media literacy community's attention and raise a lot of eyebrows.
At the same time, I think we should resist the temptation to engage in further polarization by focusing overwhelmingly on the essay's flaws. The author does make many important points, although the wording that conflates media literacy education is general with the news literacy is unfortunate. However, nuance can be added without dramatically altering the piece.
I believe that we should use danah boyd's essay as a starting point for important conversations about the current state and the future of media literacy. What are some effective ways to go beyond focusing on fake news in the classroom? What techniques do you use in order not to fall back on the dichotomy of "good" vs. "bad" media texts and representations? How can we complicate our discussions about the outcome of the 2016 election without reverting to the good old media effects paradigm? Add your questions, and let's talk!