After our initial discussion about freedom of the press, we broke up into small groups and discussed where we get our information about the wider world:
__ the internet
The class had some lively contributions about all of this. Most of the young people from countries with a free press said they preferred the internet because they thought it was easier to find what interests them.
However, students from some countries said less than 5% of households in their country had internet access. For them, the “information overload” was non-existent. We discussed how the internet allows for more varied sources of information but also some dangers, such as unfiltered information from biased sources.
What about your students? Do you have a similar breakdown among your students? How have you handled this?
Some students asked about Fox News and how biased that network was against the President in the recent health care debate. We discussed whether a “free press” means that every news broadcast has to be objective.
Is total objectivity possible? Many said yes. We discussed the fact that if some channels are pro-conservative, others are pro-liberal and if we know that, we can get some balance. Some students were shocked that the country allowed people to make fun of the President.
Have you ever looked at bias in US news media? How have you structured those lessons?