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Leftists Use "Media Literacy" to Propagandize with Public Money

As you read what follows about a shocking exposé published by the Media Research Center (MRC), bear in mind that leftists in Springfield sponsored and passed an amendment to the school code (Public Act 102-0055) mandating that “every high school include in its curriculum a unit on media literacy,” which took effect in the 2022-2023 school year. According to the Pulitzer Center, this amendment made Illinois “the first state in the nation to require instruction of media literacy at the public high school level.”

The Pulitzer Center provided more troubling information about the amendment: “The House passed the bill by a vote of 68 to 44 without a single Republican voting in favor. In the Senate, the vote was 42 to 15, with three Republicans voting in favor and 15 against.

Now on to the shocking story.

In January, the MRC published a two-part exposé of the Biden administration’s nefarious efforts to use schools and public money to advance leftist propaganda via “media literacy.” MRC untangles the complex “media literacy” web to help Americans understand more clearly yet another way leftists are practicing the art of deception and how Illinois is on the forefront of this deceit.

In Part 1 of the exposé published on Jan. 9, 2024, MRC reveals that the State Department and Department of Homeland Security, using taxpayer funds, have been colluding to train “educators on how to ‘inoculate’ students against ideas not approved by the left.”  

This training initially took the form of eleven seminars titled “Medialogues on Propaganda,” which were provided to 700 educators by the University of Rhode Island’s Media Education Lab, Media Literacy Now (MLN), and the University of Würzburg’s Media Education & Educational Technology Lab,” which is a “German government entity.” 

Daily Wire provides more information about the shared leftist bias of the Media Education Lab and MLN, as well as their collusive relationship:

The Media Education Lab has for years served as a center of liberal censorship efforts. … The Rhode Island Lab is arguably a front for the activist group [MLN] with which it has frequently partnered, providing an academic veneer to something that’s closer to partisanship. …
MLN lobbies for mandatory training in schools to fight “misinformation” and “online radicalization,” boasting that it has helped convince 18 states to make laws on media literacy training. And while the Rhode Island Lab wrote an entire report on the importance of “media literacy” without ever defining it, MLN had spoken more clearly, calling it a “tool to create the society we all deserve: one that nurtures racial equity, social justice, and true democracy. Media literacy equals cultural change.”
That missive came below the tagline “Justice now. Equality now. Democracy now,” and a graphic of the MLN logo superimposed over a picture of a protest with signs such as “ACAB,” the antifa slogan standing for All Cops Are Bastards.

It is worth noting that leftist Renee Hobbs founded the Media Education Lab and sits on the National Advisory Council of MLN. She is also good friends with her co-director at the Media Education Lab, Yonty Friesem, about whom Hobbs wrote, “Yonty embodied the kind of sensitivity to and respect for difference that is at the heart of the phrase “diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.” 

Illinoisans may be interested to learn that Friesem is Associate Professor and Graduate Director in the Communication Department at the leftwing Columbia College in Chicago. He is also the co-founder of the Illinois Media Literacy Coalition which was created right after the school code amendment—which Friesem co-wrote—was signed into law.

The Pulitzer Center revealed that it was Friesem who insisted that the amendment require state funding: [T]he final part of the law, which Friesem insisted on the language, is that ISBE will provide resources.” (emphasis added)

To be clear, Friesem wrote the amendment that requires state funding, and then founded an organization that will receive those funds.

In Part 2 of the exposé, published on Jan. 17, 2024, MRC reveals that the Department of Homeland Security is building on and expanding the censorship efforts of the federal government—efforts that masquerade as “media literacy”—by funneling taxpayer money from the Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) Grant Program to the Media Education  Lab.   

According to MRC, “Biden’s DHS approved a three-phase censorship strategy, set to culminate close to the 2024 presidential election.”

The Media Education Lab applied for and received a $700,000 grant from the terrorism prevention program. In its grant application requesting public money for its ideological purposes, Media Education Lab claimed,

Targeted public service messages can increase public awareness of the threats by individuals encouraging violence and attempting to radicalize others through spreading disinformation, conspiracy theories, and false narratives on social media and other online platforms.” 

And who do leftists believe spreads “disinformation, conspiracy theories, and false narratives”? Do they think it’s the Washington Post? New York Times? Mark Zuckerberg? Adam Schiff? Joe Biden? Nikole Hannah-Jones? Ibram X. Kendi? Jack Dorsey? Hillary Clinton? The DNC? Anthony Fauci?  Yeah, riiight.

The Media Education Lab’s grant application identifies three “programs” to be created with the $700,000 that is supposed to be used to prevent terrorism. In Program 1, the Media Education Lab, led by the ubiquitous government leech Renee Hobbs, would create “Courageous Rhode Island” to provide and facilitate “courageous community conversations.” Hobbs and her team specifically “seek to reach military spouses and family members, public health and public safety employees, K-12 educators, librarians, high school and college students, and media and public relations professionals.”

Program 2 would expand on the prior efforts to “train high school and college educators … on how to integrate media literacy into civic education, where topics including disinformation, propaganda, and domestic terrorism and extremism are addressed in the context of civic literacy competencies.” More indoctrination for more “educators.”  

And then there is Program 3—a real doozy. Courageous Rhode Island is offering $7,000 in prize money to middle school, high school, and college students who “create short media messages” that “counter disinformation.” Taxpayer money is being siphoned into the coffers of leftist organizations, which then use it to pay students to be de facto leftist activists. Think of those students as Red Guards Lite.

In these leftist-controlled media literacy seminars, conversations, curricular units, and cash contests, who will decide what constitutes mis- and dis- information? Who will decide what constitutes a conspiracy theory? Will students be led by their trained “educators” to think of those who refute climate alarmism as conspiracy nuts? Will those who advocate against COVID vaccines be deemed purveyors of false narratives? Will those who wonder aloud about the role of federal agencies, the Democrat Party, or Nancy Pelosi in the Jan. 6 Capitol mischief be identified as disseminators of disinformation?

So many questions never asked or answered before leftists took our money and ran.


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