You don’t – or perhaps, you by now do – expect a media outlet, a national, government-funded broadcaster like Canada’s CBC to be in the business of teaching children how to recognize “online misinformation”?
But here we are.
It’s about a “blocky, ultra-popular” game called Reporting 101: Misinformation coming from CBC Kids News, and targeting students from grade 4 to 8. And it is nominally tied to some undoubtedly positive if not key skills, although it may be misinterpreting their actual meaning rather severely: digital literacy, and critical thinking.
To make kids comfortable in participating in some way in the environment of “fearless fight against misinformation,” the program is a Minecraft game, whose goal is to teach them to supposedly distinguish and navigate that minefield (no pun) which apparently hasn’t plagued journalism since there has been journalism – but became an urgent concern a couple of years back.
That said, let’s see what CBC says. Well, CBS says that “students say” misinformation these days “abounds” online. In other words, it’s not the media outlet that gets its money from the government – notorious for its “misinformation”-related antics – that is pushing this agenda on everyone, including the youth.
No – a recent article suggested it was the kids themselves who realized the allegedly huge and perilous problem hovering over, and festering inside the internet.
“Myth-debunkers” – (not clear if this is nowadays somebody’s real job title or CBC trying to have a sense of humor) – to the rescue. (Also, when broadcasters like this will quit focusing on real or imagined “misinformation” and dedicate themselves to their job – reporting information, is anybody’s guess.)
One of the “myth-debunkers” – a notable one, no less – cited by CBC – is Timothy Caulfield who is cited as saying that even a few seconds count in what they aim to achieve:
“If you get people to take that beat, they’re more likely to adopt a critical thinking perspective, less likely to believe misinformation, less likely to share misinformation.”
… maybe, from the standpoint of the Canadian government/CBC – be careful what you wish for?
In any case, one of the things that will live on in infamy as CBC’s legacy for a long time is a recent discovery that its president was among the supporters of government censorship on Twitter.