Skepticism over Cynicism: Group Teaches Media Literacy to Combat ‘Fake News’

SACRAMENTO -- Cries of "fake news" from both the left and right have left a lot of voters, and a lot of consumers of news, at a loss.

That's why Artists for Literacy, a non-profit long dedicated to adult literacy in the most traditional sense, is now working on teaching media literacy.

"We're building healthy skepticism and not cynicism," Deborah Pardes, from Artists for Literacy, told FOX40.

Pardes' goal is to help adults who didn't grow up with social media learn how to navigate fake news finger pointing.

One exercise Thursday evening was designed to teach communities some of the factors that can influence news content. It's the first stop of the "Arresting Knowledge" national tour.

"They're taking a lot of other people's reporting and re-packaging it, so these small errors get propagated and repeated over and over and become real," instructor George Warren said.

Warren, a veteran Sacramento-area reporter-turned journalism professor, wants all news consumers to differentiate between something that could be factually incorrect or just controversial.

"Fake news, in the case of the current administration, is just news that he doesn't like," Warren said.

With so many sources of information out there, Warren and Pardes warn it's easy to create your own echo chamber -- only hearing, seeing and clicking on what you already agree with.

"So it's really about if we have disagreements and they fall along a values line, let's talk about how values get in the way of seeing truth and call that for what it is," Pardes said.