My aunt passed away a few years ago, but before she died, she was the kind of person who believed every single thing she heard on conservative radio, and she regularly regurgitated Fox News talking points almost verbatim. It was… difficult. Even when I tried to fact-check in real time when she was mid-rant about Obummer getting secret money from Ghaddafi (or something?), it was like her brain stopped, crashed, then rebooted and she just kept believing the same thing Fox News told her. My point is that there are a lot of people who could use a primer in how to read and watch and listen to “news.” Angelina Jolie is just focusing on teaching those lessons to kids:
Angelina Jolie and the BBC want to give young viewers real tools to stop fake news, Jolie will executive produce “BBC My World,” a program that explains the stories behind news and offers facts and information that helps kids over the age of 13 make up their own minds on pressing international issues. The series will tap the reporting of the BBC World Service and is a co-production with Jolie and Microsoft Education. The BBC will retain final editorial approval of content in the series.
“As a parent I am happy to be able to give my support to a program that aims to help children learn more about the lives of other young people around the world, and connect to them to each other,” says Jolie in a prepared statement. “I hope it will help children find the information and tools they need to make a difference on the issues that matter to them, drawing on the BBC World Service’s network of thousands of journalists and multiple language services around the world.”
The weekly half-hour program will be broadcast via BBC World News, the organization’s most-watched channel. It will air each Sunday at 11:30 a.m. eastern, and its content will be shared with BBC’s 42 different language services. It will also be made available via a YouTube channel and the BBC iPlayer in the United Kingdom. Producers see the show as a tool to help young audiences, who are allowed to roam on many social–media outlets, but come across all kinds of news content aimed at adults, yet have less of a grasp about how to distinguish content by levels of quality.
In my day – yes, I’m old – this was considered more of a lesson in government/civics starting in middle school and continuing through high school. There wasn’t one singular class on media-engagement and, like, media criticism or media ethics, but it was seen as more adjacent to discussions about history and politics and citizenship. But I like the idea of a stand-alone program, a tool for kids to get a better grasp of news and fake news and all of that. And yes, there should be something like that for adults too, because the old folks watching Fox News are not okay.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Backgrid.