The New Digital Divide: Disinformation and Media Literacy in the U.S.
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This research addresses the impact of disinformation and media illiteracy on civil discourse and informed societal activity in the United States. The research provides analysis of the conditions surrounding disinformation and media illiteracy, as well one proposed solution for the problem: a media literacy educational program for both digital and non-digital natives via an international alliance of experts. Initially, the „Digital Divide“ of the early 21st century referenced individuals unable to access digital information with the same efficiency as those individuals in a household with a personal computer. In 2007, the introduction of smart phone technology transformed some of the Digital Divide population by providing information previously restricted to individuals with PC access to anyone who owned a phone. However, frequency of use is not the equivalent of mastery or thorough understanding. In 2016, the disinformation campaigns surrounding the U.S. presidential election, and later popular culture campaigns such as supposed controversy surrounding Disney’s The Last Jedi, emerged as foreign interference with American culture exploiting cultural divides. This research addresses two things: (1) Recognition of a caveat to the Knowledge Gap Theory in 21st century media interaction; and (2) Creation of a media literacy educational program via an international coalition for the sole purpose of combating disinformation..
media literacy, media education
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