Civics 101 Comes to Derryfield

Civics 101 Comes to Derryfield

Elaine Loft, Staff Writer

On the day before the NH Primary, Nick Capodice and Hannah McCarthy, the co-hosts of New Hampshire Public Radio’s Civics 101 podcast, came to Community Meeting to discuss “Misinformation, Disinformation and Propaganda.” Capodice and McCarthy offered examples of each category, and sources to help discern whether the information one is receiving is the truth, or a lie, or something in between.

Propaganda, perhaps the most straightforward of the three topics, was illustrated through historic and well-known posters from the WWI and WWII eras. Misinformation was discussed with examples from current social media, in terms of “did you know” fallacies repeated until they appear to be fact. Disinformation was cleverly explained via an entertaining faux campaign, with math teacher Steve Young and English teacher John Slefinger as opposing candidates. After asking both ‘candidates’ to read from seemingly benign scripts, Capodice spliced Mr. Young’s remarks into a negative ad, aimed at his opponent, Mr. Slefinger. Kidding aside, the ease with which Young’s words, and intent, were manipulated was not lost upon the audience.

Acknowledging how difficult it can be to sort through misinformation, disinformation and propaganda, Capodice and McCarthy concluded their lively presentation with journalistic strategies for fact checking, including reviewing news from at least five different sources (including those that oppose your general beliefs), choosing a different web browser, and understanding the consequences of ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ on social media.

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