Multiple Colorado Republicans voted last week against legislation, now awaiting Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ signature, aimed at boosting media literacy in public education, even though they would have clearly benefited from media literacy education themselves when they were in school.
I’m talking about lawmakers who’ve shared fake news on their Facebook pages–or otherwise undermined professional journalism’s mission of illuminating facts and exposing misinformation and lies.
But Scott’s complete and total absence of media-literacy skills came a few days after he called the Sentinel “fake news,” when he actually promoted Sentinel articles he agreed with on Facebook, as if a news outlet is only fake when you disagree with it.
What’s more, Scott then refused to remove from his Facebook page a fake news item titled, “WikiLeaks CONFIRMS Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS…Then Drops Another BOMBSHELL! Breaking News.”
This fake news remains on Scott’s Facebook page to this day.
He also refused to delete a tweet with this ridiculous (and fake) quote from Ronald Reagan about Trump: “For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with a president.”
Another lawmaker who voted against this session’s bill, which would
create a report on how to implement media literacy in elementary and secondary education and was sponsored by State Sen. Brittany Petterson of Lakewood and Lisa Cutter of Littleton, both Democrats, is State Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins).
Anyone with cursory news awareness knows Marble is in desperate need of media-literacy help.
In March, she accused 9News reporter Kyle Clark of having a “fake news agenda” without providing evidence that Clark’s reporting was, in fact, fake.
Marble was so upset at Clark for reporting on Marble’s call for parts of Colorado to secede that she told Clark in a Facebook: “Don’t think for one minute you are ‘Ambushing’ me…. I’m coming after you,” and to “thank God” for “how warm and cozy you and your family are tonight.” Later she told a radio show, “I am coming after [Clark] to find him, and I’ll ambush him with my camera crew!”
With comments like that, showing zero understanding of the role of professional journalism in cleansing political culture, Marble is obviously not the right person to teach a media literacy class, but you knew that already after she got national attention for telling a Cub Scout she never made a widely panned and offensive comment, which she insists was misinterpreted, about chicken and African Americans. “Colorado Sen. Vicki Marble’s Finger Lickin’ Lie,” is how The Denver Post characterized Marble’s comment in an editorial about the Cub Scout appearance.
Unlike Scott and Marble, some current and former Colorado lawmakers have modeled their command of media literacy by removing fake news, after posting it on their Facebook pages.
But in recent years, other former lawmakers, all Republicans, refused to remove fake news they posted on Facebook. These media-literacy-challenged former legislators include: State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (here) of Colorado Springs, former State Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton (here), and former State Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada (here and here).
This situation makes me think Colorado should mandate a report not only on how to implement media literacy classes for kids but also for any state lawmaker who promotes fake news, as defined in the Fake News Pledge. Seriously.