Media literacy is something that every person should understand, but very few even know about. As defined by the book, media literacy is, “The process of interacting with media content and analyzing it critically by considering its particular presentation, its underlying political or social messages, and ownership and regulation issues that may affect what is presented and in what form.” Being media literate allows you, the reader to answer the question, “why.” Why did they post this article, why is is relevant, is this worth stressing over. Too many times do people see a headline, read the article and then verbally vomit the information back up without even thinking about what they just read.
Take Donald Trump for instace, the man who is running for President of the United States almost completely off headlines and is currently a front runner. He has said brash things, avoided a lot of actually political talk and still has Americans convinced to vote for him. Part of the reason why, a lack of media literacy in America. People are seeing what he says but they are not listening to what he actually talks about. Similarly to what happened in the Nixon Kennedy debate. Those who watched the debate on televison believed that John F. Kennedy had won. However those who listened to the debate on the radio believed that Richard Nixon had won the debate. The reason, people who saw the debate looked at Kennedy, the more confident person and believed it sounded better than what Nixon was sayiing, who was sweaty and worse in front of the camera than Kennedy. While the people who only listened to the debate only got to hear the words both candidates were saying. This played into Nixon’s hand because his politics that night were better than Kennedy’s. However the people who watched the debate were more influential than those who only listened to the debate, as Kennedy eventually went on to become President.
Now, I am not arguing who should have been President after the 1960 election. And I am also not here to talk about whether Donald Trump should be President or not. What I am here to talk about however is the importance of being able to disect a headline or an article. Nowadays the vast majority of people living in America, can read. But is that enough. Is it enough to be able to read an article and summarize its main points. We are in a time where we have access to far more information at any given moment than ever imagined. This can be a blessing, and it can also be a curse. It is a great thing when the next biggest storm is rapidly approaching and you now have a few days to be able to prepare for it and take precautionary measure to make sure you are safe. However when you believed a non-reliable source for this storm and you bought protection from the storm without keeping the receipt, then it becomes a curse.