Dodd’s Bill Combating Fake News Epidemic Clears Key Committee Vote

Wednesday, April 19 2017

SACRAMENTO – A bill by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) to add media literacy to school curriculums passed a key vote in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. A rise in fake news was widely noted during the most recent Presidential election, where hoax websites deceived visitors with deceptive headlines and false facts. Media literacy is the ability to analyze and evaluate information consumed from various media sources such as websites, social networking sites, television, print and radio.

“Developing a comprehensive media literacy curriculum is critical to combating fake news,” said Senator Bill Dodd. “While information has become more accessible than ever, many lack the tools to identify fake or misleading news and information. By giving students the proper tools to analyze the media they consume, we can empower them to make informed decisions.”

With a flood of information available to internet users, it has become increasingly difficult for the public to note the difference between a reputable news publication and websites that publish false or misleading claims. The practice of advertisements masquerading as news has also seen an increase in recent years. A recent Stanford study found that 82 percent of middle school students struggled to distinguish advertisements from news stories. Further, a study by Common Sense Media found that teens spend an average of nine hours a day consuming media from various sources.

"There has never been a more important time to address the issue of media literacy in schools,” said Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, Executive Director for the National Association for Media Literacy Education. “Our students are growing up in the midst of a complicated and diverse media landscape which they need to understand in order to fully engage and participate in today’s world. We must continue to fight for media literacy education for students of all ages. We applaud Senator Dodd for taking on this important issue and moving it forward.”

Under Senator Dodd’s bill, the California Board of Education’s Instructional Quality Commission will develop a model framework necessary for incorporating media literacy into school curriculums. The legislation, Senate Bill 135, will also advance media literacy training opportunities for teachers in California. 

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Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa Counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd