While you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who has enjoyed the election process this year, the one gift of this election season is how it has highlighted the urgency of media literacy. The election results suggest many things. The most significant to us is how divided the U.S. has become. Donald Trump won the election while Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. We live in polarized times. Clinton supporters are devastated. Trump supporters are elated. Third party supporters don’t want to get blamed. Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, we imagine you are exhausted.
Today, we are spending our time and what we can do better to advocate for media literacy education. Regardless of party affiliation, we believe everyone needs to learn:
1) to distinguish between fact and fiction.
2) to be aware of the blurred line between entertainment and news.
3) to think critically about the avalanche of information we are receiving on a daily basis.
We also need to demand more from both the media and our education leaders. We need professional media creators to look seriously at the way their content is chosen, vetted and published. We need our education systems to support growth in media literacy education from early education through higher education.
We truly believe the work we are doing at NAMLE (National Association for Media Literacy Education) is to embolden and support the media literacy community in the work that is most needed now and in the years ahead. The information avalanche is not coming to a stop any time soon. Media continues to be the loudest voice in our ears and in our children’s ears each and every day. As media literacy practitioners and advocates, we must get louder and fight harder for these essential skills to be taught in every classroom in every school in the U.S.
In the days and weeks ahead, we can expect a lot of analysis about how Trump won and how Clinton lost. We are sure there will be talk of racism, sexism, and the economy. We will hear lots of theories and many pundits sharing their opinions. Rather than spend too much time on what happened, let’s spend our time on “what’s next?” And for us, what’s next is media literacy education. For every child. For every person. For our democracy.
We ask you to help us grow the media literacy movement by reaching out to friends, family, and colleagues and asking them to become a NAMLE member. It’s free, easy, and so very important.
NAMLE Board of Directors
Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, Executive Director