SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — In the age of fabricated headlines, and fake news features on Facebook, Marlene Hecker makes sure to talk to her son Dawson about the news he consumes.
“I think kids should be learning true facts,” she says.
Dawson is only 10 but he’s a news junkie.
“What is fake news? Junk news,” he says.
His dad wrote a film about it.
“Project Censored – The Movie” looks at media censorship in terms of what stories aren’t covered in the mainstream media. But the concern now is about fake news that’s mistaken for real news despite having no factual basis.
And, on this field trip to the Capitol, Dawson and his mom say they hope California lawmakers take that “fake news fight” from the movies to the classroom.
State Sen. Bill Dodd’s bill does just that, aiming to teach students how to parse fact from fiction.
“Start giving people the skills to differentiate between those two,” Dodd says.
Dodd’s bill would charge the state’s education board with building a “media literacy” curriculum for grades 1 through 12 . It would teach students how to ask if an article or video is from a legitimate news organization. How would that “media model” combat fake news?
“They’d be able to go back and check sourcing is this is a reputable outfit- who it’s coming from – the domain name,” Dodd said.
Educators would decide what is a reputable source.
Could this censor news?
“I hope not because no one wants to censor news,” Dodd says. “What it does is give kids critical thinking skills to determine whether I believe that or don’t believe that.”
So far the bill has no opposition. But Dodd says he realizes it could turn political- after all, he says the 2016 presidential election prompted the bill- when the era of fake news became real- and fabricated headlines reached massive audiences.