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Earthmerlin

Logical Fallacies, Advertising, & (also) Fake News

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I’ve got a nearly 10 year old who’s quite interested in logic, fake news, & advertising (tricks). We talk about such things as they come up but I’d perhaps like more resources to address these topics.

I have ‘Bad Arguments’. Other than reading it bit by bit, how do you use it &/or extend its contents? ‘Fallacy Detectives’ is on order at my library so I will use that in the future as well.

We have a book on fake news but I’m stumped as to how to approach it in real life—where to get examples to dissect? I think this is an important topic but I listened to NPR & read the Washington Post so don’t believe I come across many examples of fake news (I also don’t ‘do’ social media). 

We have another book, ‘Made You Look’, which deals with advertising & its tricks. We have also watched food stylist videos. I try to point out commercial & magazine ads’ take on things (but we don’t watch too much TV). What else do you use? 

The above are great topics to explore & my child seems to crave tons of examples of each so please share your resources & teaching ideas!

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I don't do a lot for my 9yo.  I try to pair up these lessons with language arts and history as we get deeper into those subjects.  Right now, we start looking for bias: highlighting words that show the author's slant or perspective and then rewriting the story in an outline with just the facts.  There was an article from NPR last year that was a brilliant example of this.  It was not one I'd use for a 9yo, but it covered the sexual harassment by an NPR executive.  In its restrained way, it was scathing and definitely showed what the author thought of the executive with its subtle word choice.  I want to cover bias first, because if we understand where a journalist is coming from, it's easier to discern the spin.

By middle school, we start including looking for sources.  What is being used for the backbone of the article?  Is it actual primary sources that speak for themselves, panels of experts, or a peer-reviewed study?  And I encourage questioning and digging deeper.  Yesterday there was a story about the Tennessee governor proclaiming it to be Nathan Bedford Forrest day.  How dare he??  Why would he do such a thing?  There were primary sources within the article (a picture of the proclamation) and direct quotes, but the article itself had a heavy spin.  My oldest asked for more, and we found out.  Turns out it's Tennessee law since 1921 to do this annually, and no one has changed the law yet.  Not quite as sensational as the governor choosing to do this on his own (but one would hope that in future years the state government would choose to drop this requirement).
 

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4 hours ago, Earthmerlin said:

I’ve got a nearly 10 year old who’s quite interested in logic, fake news, & advertising (tricks). We talk about such things as they come up but I’d perhaps like more resources to address these topics.

I have ‘Bad Arguments’. Other than reading it bit by bit, how do you use it &/or extend its contents? ‘Fallacy Detectives’ is on order at my library so I will use that in the future as well.

We have a book on fake news but I’m stumped as to how to approach it in real life—where to get examples to dissect? I think this is an important topic but I listened to NPR & read the Washington Post so don’t believe I come across many examples of fake news (I also don’t ‘do’ social media). 

We have another book, ‘Made You Look’, which deals with advertising & its tricks. We have also watched food stylist videos. I try to point out commercial & magazine ads’ take on things (but we don’t watch too much TV). What else do you use? 

The above are great topics to explore & my child seems to crave tons of examples of each so please share your resources & teaching ideas!

On WaPo, you could take the example of the Catholic school kid at the protest. I can’t remember his name.....but WaPo is having the tar sued out of them for not checking sources and verifying things  before running with the story. They had to issue retractions. You could take something like that and show how the race to get something out now without verifying it has contributed to the “fake news” epidemic. Where it’s not so much completely fake, as I think journalists now do a really crappy job on vetting emerging stories. Whereas they used to have hours or even days to vet- now because they are businesses they are under pressure to pound out that tweet/story/what have you and across the board before anyone else, they are making a lot of mistakes. 

You could also look at cases of journalists who just flat out fabricate stories- like Jayson Blair with The NY Times , or I forget his name- but the anchor that claimed to be in a war situation and wasn’t. I think if you have a kid who understands nuance there is a lot you can find on real situations that led to where we are now. I don’t know that big papers are any less immune to the race for the story at this point. They’ve had more than a couple of scandals.  

ETA- Brian Williams is the one I couldn’t think of. 

Also as he gets older, you could discuss the disaster of Rolling Stone and the University of Virginia rape story. There are honestly so many cases of this happening in the last 20 years across so many “mainstream papers” you probably won’t have trouble finding other instances you can use as examples. It’s super interesting coupled with advertising and the dying of print journalism in general, and then how the poor reporting only further hurts print journalism. And so it cycles. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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One other idea for down the line- the tech giants are the big purchasers of late of many of the remaining papers and print magazines. You could discuss why this may or may not be a good thing to have the same people who control social media, and huge swathes of US tech own what are traditionally thought of as the areas of free speech and journalistic freedom unique to America. It’s not new for rich people to own papers, but the surrounding issues have changed significantly- sheer amount of wealth, decline of papers and advent of the internet and social media. 

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Crash Course's media literacy and navigating digital information series are both great.

There are also some great videos that you can find on YouTube about things like food advertising and how they make everything look as good as they do.

There's a massive, massive difference between a situation like the NYT or WaPo or the WSJ or whatever having to retract a story and issue clarifications, apologies, etc. and actual "fake news." In this climate, I would not focus on legitimate news outlets - liberal or conservative leaning - that issue retractions and do good journalism overall. Not to say that we shouldn't be aware that they mess up, have misleading headlines (especially for science news, I find - just apart from politics entirely), and especially to discern the difference between op-ed and journalistic content on these outlets, which is often dramatically different and has very different standards. But considering how much actual incorrect, unsourced, just made up content that's out there, I would focus on that more.

The Newseum has some lessons on this as well using various articles.

When we did some mini-lessons on this, one thing I did was pull articles on sites and have the kids rate them. I purposefully pulled things that were nonsense, things that were opinion and super biased but not factually incorrect where facts were cited, and things that were factually correct. It's HARD to see the difference. One of the only ways to improve your understanding is to consistently watch the news so you slowly buildup the background information to trigger your bs detector in the first place. CNN's student news (I forget the new name... 10? CNN 10?) is pretty decent for this. I also really like print version of The Week, which summarizes things from across the media in a very clear way. The website has gotten more op-eds and now leans more liberal, but the magazine is still just content from other publications.

I can't remember where you are on religion, etc. but just FYI that Fallacy Detective is written from a Christian perspective.

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Oh, one more... Chip Kidd's book about graphic design is great and covers some advertising concepts, though in a much more design positive way than stuff that's critical of advertising. I'll also third Made You Look - and Groovy Kids has a class that uses it.

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Throwing in some idea that others haven’t. 

Adam Ruins Everything - select episodes. Some have more adult content

amazon Prime has Honest Ads - again check content 

theres a series for books that tell both sides of, for example, the Revolutionary War. 

This website has free printable posters and cards or ready made for purchase  

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/

A common way to practice analyzing and comparing is through creation stories, mythology, fairy tales (all of the Cinderella stories), etc. There is a fairy tale book that takes the wolf’s side. 

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I have a playlist in YouTube for media literacy you can browse through. 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZo8berqeqIa9pv0F_tkGP7U2JU0DF4Nk

I did a War of the Worlds broadcast unit  

PBS Idea Channel has a series on fallacies

 Wireless Philosophy has a series

Brainpop has a couple of episodes available. 

 

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Thanks for all the tips, folks! 

 

In mentally prepping for Saturday’s Apollo anniversary I wonder if I could tie in the conspiracy theories? (I’m just spitballing right now (& haven’t had my 1st cuppa so cannot think cohesively)  I know conspiracy theories & fake news are different but wonder if I could somehow use it w/ this upcoming event. Any ideas? 

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Another resource: Prufrock Press has Fighting Fake News: Teaching Critical thinking and Media Literacy in a Digital Age, a curriculum aimed at 4th to 6th grades.

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On 7/17/2019 at 6:40 AM, Earthmerlin said:

Thanks for all the tips, folks! 

 

In mentally prepping for Saturday’s Apollo anniversary I wonder if I could tie in the conspiracy theories? (I’m just spitballing right now (& haven’t had my 1st cuppa so cannot think cohesively)  I know conspiracy theories & fake news are different but wonder if I could somehow use it w/ this upcoming event. Any ideas? 

There's a Mythbusters episode about that.

Did you go see the thing at the Washington Monument yet?

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On 7/19/2019 at 2:54 PM, Farrar said:

There's a Mythbusters episode about that.

Did you go see the thing at the Washington Monument yet?

No, I didnt’t know about either. Neat! Thanks!

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Be cautious about content and screen first, but I found some examples from TV and advertising on this site:

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/main/logicalfallacies?from=main.youfaillogicforever

For example, scroll to the bottom of this and expand the listing under Circumstantial Ad Hominem:  https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AdHominem

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On 7/14/2019 at 12:23 PM, Plum said:

amazon Prime has Honest Ads - again check content 

 

 

Oh my gosh, I started watching this on your recommendation, and it's too funny!  For readers of the other thread on college costs, there's a biting episode about just that in the last season.  

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I was browsing through my library's e-resources catalog and found this site. My link wouldn't work since it was through the library, so I linked this page that at least gives you an idea of what it looks like. It's definitely going in my files for future classes. It's probably better for high school age though. 

Points of View Reference Center
Containing resources that present multiple sides of an issue, this database provides rich content that can help students assess and develop persuasive arguments and essays, better understand controversial issues and develop analytical thinking skills.

 

 

Edited by Plum
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I’m glad I asked for ideas b/c there are some really good ones here! I’m learning a lot too! Honest Ads is hilarious! Thanks for all the suggestions!

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