A Media Literacy Bill Is Back Before State Lawmakers

The bill would allow schools to teach kids how to differentiate between fake news and credible media.

Video Transcript

- A bill is back before state lawmakers that would allow schools to teach kids how to differentiate between fake news and credible media. It would create an online bank of media literacy resources in the state's Department of Education. Political specialist Shaun Boyd joining us live now. And Shaun, we know all kinds of information is accessible to kids with social media.

SHAUN BOYD: Kelly, kids-- even many adults-- get much of their information from the internet. And lawmakers in both parties agree there is a lot of misinformation out there. At issue is whether the resources compiled by the task force teach kids how to tell fact from fiction or teach them what is fact and what's fiction.

- This is a gross intrusion on the First Amendment.

SHAUN BOYD: To listen to the debate, which dragged on for three hours, you might wonder if Republicans and Democrats were talking about the same bill and who was telling the truth-- ironic given the bill itself is about helping kids get at the truth.

LISA CUTTER: We just want kids to understand how to dig a little deeper. If you see that headline that you go, oh, my gosh, and you react to so strongly, we want children in particular to say, oh, hey, wait. Maybe that's bias. Maybe I better look at this a little bit further.

SHAUN BOYD: Representative Lisa Cutter says an online bank of resources at the Department of Education gives kids the tools to think critically. Representative Patrick Neville says it tells them what to think.

PATRICK NEVILLE: This library is more than just trying to teach general logic and reasoning to students. I heard [INAUDIBLE] say that Socrates would be turning in his grave right now because it's more than that. It's really leading into what they believe the truth is and leading students to that specific truth that they've already concluded is the truth.

SHAUN BOYD: He points to an article in the library written by Black Lives Matter and another on climate change that refers to Wikipedia as a source.

PATRICK NEVILLE: I don't think any academic person would say Wikipedia is a reliable source for anything.

LISA CUTTER: The research bank just has a variety of examples of information. And no one's prescribing that they use them. No one's saying that they're the truth. That's absolutely against the point of what we're doing.

SHAUN BOYD: Republicans say the task force that compiled the bank of resources didn't include any Republicans or input from the public. To be clear, the bill does not require teachers to use that bank of resources. Rather, it directs them to begin incorporating media literacy tools in their curriculum and makes the bank or library available to them if they need it. The bill did get initial approval in the House.