AFT Resolution

CALLING FOR A CAMPAIGN TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ON DETECTING FALSEHOODS IN MEDIA

WHEREAS, all American Federation of Teachers members agree on the benefits of an educated public; and

WHEREAS, a core component of education is teaching the ability to discern fact from fiction; and

WHEREAS, a lack of consensus on what is factual threatens all who have careers that receive public funding, including those in education, as well as those who have related careers in scientific research and public policy; and

WHEREAS, Facebook, the most widely used social networking platform across the globe, was found to have permitted the broad dissemination and consumption of fictional news stories that were verisimilitudinous, particularly during the 2016 election cycle; and

WHEREAS, Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, made demonstrably incorrect statements about the size of the 2017 inauguration crowd to the press; and

WHEREAS, Kellyanne Conway, adviser to the president, described these false statements as “alternative facts,” which is a euphemism for lies, on the Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, edition of “Meet the Press”; and

WHEREAS, the president has used press opportunities, social media and meetings with government officials to repeat false information about the size of the January 2017 inaugural crowd and more serious matters such as the number of illegal votes counted as part of the popular vote; and

WHEREAS, members of the current presidential administration who interface directly with the public, who have a demonstrated record of doing so, continue to escalate their efforts to distort facts or communicate pure falsehoods, as exemplified by the suggestion by Sean Spicer on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons”; and

WHEREAS, distributing demonstrably false or factually dubious information is an increasingly common tactic used by politicians and political agents to manipulate public opinion; and

WHEREAS, we as educators have a responsibility to foster an informed public; and

WHEREAS, a well-informed public is essential to democracy:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will  engage in a campaign to increase public awareness, of publicly available media literacy programs such as those available on AFT’s Share My Lesson specifically aimed at detection of media falsehoods; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will develop a working group to determine the means by which to achieve these goals, including solicitation of existing educational materials from local members or the possible development of new educational materials and the development and distribution of new marketing materials. The group will submit a report to the AFT executive council for review and feedback.

 

(2018)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.