New York, Feb 17 (IANS) Journalism is an ‘attack surface’ for those media consumers and journalists who may sometimes unwittingly amplify bad information, say researchers.
According to the researchers, we’re still struggling with the spread of misinformation–and the damage is especially worrisome when it comes to information about science and health.
“Believing things that aren’t true when it comes to health can be not just bad for us, but dangerous. Journalists have a special duty to avoid being fooled, and they can help us learn to sort out truth from falsehood ourselves,” said study researcher Dan Gillmor from Arizona State University in the US.
His work, which focuses on improving media literacy, during a panel presentation on Feb 15 as part of the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in the US, was anchored by warnings from security experts, aimed at media consumers and journalists who may sometimes unwittingly amplify bad information.
Those experts label journalism as an “attack surface” for those who are looking to intentionally spread misinformation.
“We need to get better ourselves at sorting out what we can trust, and understanding our roles as part of a digital ecosystem in which we’re sharers and creators as well as consumers,” Gillmor said.
The report revealed that nearly a third of media consumers with a college education could not identify a fake news headline.
And, consumers with negative attitudes about the news media were less likely to be able to spot fake news or distinguish opinion from analysis or advertising.
Gillmor’s presentation is pivot on the need for a better understanding of news and the media, how journalists can prepare for and respond to misinformation, and how consumers can learn to parse what they read and watch so that they don’t unknowingly traffic information that was intentionally designed to be misleading.