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Letter to the Editor: Be skeptical



To the editor:

Fifty years ago, when I was a young girl sitting around the kitchen table, our family would tune in to a program that asked listeners to weigh in on the pros and cons of different moral issues or legal questions. Thus ensued a lively discussion with my parents and brothers.

With that background and the fact that back then there were only a few sources of news, I was struck by a recent commentary in The Oregonian that felt parents should discuss with their children biases in today’s news and social media.

In “Teach your kids discernment and skepticism,” Maureen Paschal, a school librarian, states, “the only reliable way to protect citizens from fake news, alternate facts or hate groups is for all of us to learn how to navigate digital information with discernment and skepticism.” She elaborates on five points: “Know the parts of a newspaper or cable broadcast. Understand bias and point of view. Know how a search engine works and what an algorithm is. Know what constitutes a reliable source (look at the 'About' section of the website and find their credentials). Choose your own news sources.”

Finally she states that to save us from fake news, “only our brains, our own ability to think and our own innate skepticism can.”

The whole article is available online or check out The Dalles-County Library Newsletter (541-296-2815) to find out when they will present a program about how to avoid fake news. I wouldn’t want to go back to the 60s, but discernment and skepticism are needed now more than ever.

Sally Ford

The Dalles



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