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Resources for Media Literacy – from Peace & Justice

Written by on Thursday, August 8, 2019

Encouraging Critical Media Literacy and Civic Engagement 

These FREE ONLINE RESOURCES are from the book The United States of Distraction by Nolan Higdon and Micky Huff. We interviewed Nolan August 7, and these are from his appendix, with his permission.

Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME) is an independently funded critical media literacy education network that teaches effective approaches to engage, chal­lenge, and create media in ways that empower individuals and communities. Educators can adopt critical media lit­eracy pedagogy in their classrooms with the lesson plans and exercises provided through ACME’s website. www.acmesmartmediaeducation.net 

First Draft News offers a free course on verification cur­riculum, where students can learn how to verify eyewit­ness media and detect fabricated websites, visual memes, and manipulated videos. Users can take either the five-unit course, designed primarily for journalists, or the one-hour abridged version, designed for the general public. Both courses are designed so that users can take the course from start to finish or excerpt elements to integrate into class­rooms and courses, with clear credit to First Draft and Dr. Claire Wardle. www.firstdraftnews.org

The Global Critical Media Literacy Project is a digital­ly connected network of educators, activists, and students dedicated to cradle-to-grave education in critical media literacy principles and strategies. Their goal is to empower learners of all ages, largely through community engage­ment, to participate deeply with the world and to take ac­tion on issues that matter to them. The project’s Educator Resource Guide provides a wealth of content and lesson plans that serve to enhance classrooms with critical media literacy material. In addition, the website publishes student work as a way to demonstrate the powerful outcomes of an effective critical media literacy pedagogy. www.gcml.org

Project Censored educates students and the public about the importance of a truly free press for democratic self-government. It exposes and opposes news censorship and promotes independent investigative journalism, media literacy, and critical thinking. The website includes a se­ries of under-reported stories, podcasts, radio programs, and educator content that serves to enhance classroom dis­cussion and strengthen users’ understanding of democracy and media. www.projectcensored.org 

Screen Free Week is an annual international celebration in which families, schools, and communities swap digital entertainment for the joys of life beyond the screen. Instead of watching TV, surfing the web, or playing with apps and video games, they read, play, think, create, get active, and spend more time with family and friends. The organization offers resources and strategies for use of more responsible media resources and/or limiting media consumption. www. screenfree.org 

Verification Handbook is a groundbreaking new re­source for journalists and aid providers authored by lead­ing journalists from the BBC, Storyful, ABC, Digital First Media, and other verification experts. It provides tools, techniques, and step-by-step guidelines for how to dealwith user-generated content (UGC) during emergencies. It is free for download from the website. www.verification­handbook.com 


Critical Thinking 

  • Levitin, Daniel J. Weaponized Lies: How to Think Crit­ically in the Post-Truth Era. Penguin, 2017. 
  • Browne, M. Neil, and Keeley, Stuart M. Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking, 12th ed. Pearson, 2018. 

Truth And Intellectualism 

  • Bartlett, Bruce. The Truth Matters: A Citizen’s Guide to Separating Facts from Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its Tracks. Ten Speed Press, 2017. 
  • Frankfurt, Henry G. On Bullshit. Princeton Universi­ty Press, 2005. 
  • Frankfurt, Henry G. On Truth. Random House, 2006. 
  • Kakutani, Michiko. The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump. Dugan Books, 2018. 
  • McIntyre, Lee. Post Truth. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2018. 
  • Nichols, Tom. The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters. Oxford University Press, 2017. 
  • Stephens-Davidowitz, Seth. Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are. Harper Collins, 2017.
  • Political Economy 
  • Foer, Franklin. World Without Mind: The Existential Threat Of Big Tech. Penguin, 2017. 
  • Freeland, Chrystia. Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. Pen­guin, 2012. 
  • Graeber, David. Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Melville House, 2011. 
  • Mayer, Jane. Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. Anchor Books, 2017. 
  • Mazzucato, Mariana. The Entrepreneurial State: De­bunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths. Vol. 1. An­them Press, 2015. 
  • Nader, Ralph. Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think. City Lights Publishers, 2016. 
  • Parenti, Michael. Democracy for the Few, 9th edition. Wadsworth, 2011. 
  • Phillips, Peter. Giants: The Global Power Elite. Seven Stories Press, 2018. 
  • Piketty, Thomas. Capital in the 21st Century. Belknap, 2013. 
  • Documentaries The Corporation. Joel Bakan, Zeitgeist Films, 2003. 
  • Requiem for the American Dream. With Noam Chomsky, Naked City Films and PF Pictures, 2015. 
  • U.S. Political Culture 
  • Andersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Hay­wire: A 500-Year History. Random House, 2017. 
  • Kornacki, Steve. The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism. Ecco, 2018. 
  • Vance, J.D. Hillbilly Elegy. Harper Collins, 2016.
  • American Conservatism 
  • Maclean, Nancy. Democracy In Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. Penguin, 2017. 
  • Robert O. Self. All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy Since the 1960s. Hill And Wang, 2013. 
  • American Liberalism 
  • Featherstone, Liza, ed. False Choices: The Faux Femi­nism of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Verso Books, 2016. 
  • Frank, Thomas. Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Hap­pened to the Party of the People? Macmillan, 2016. 
  • Hedges, Chris. Death of the Liberal Class. Nation Books, 2010. 
  • Suskind, Ron. Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washing­ton, and the Education of a President. Harper, 2011. 
  • Media History/Theory, Propaganda, and Censorship 
  • Bagdikian, Benjamin. The New Media Monopoly. Bea­con Press, 2004. 
  • Benkler, Yochai, Robert Faris, and Hal Roberts. Net­work Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics. Oxford University Press, 2018. 
  • Bernays, Edward. Propaganda. Introduction by Mark Crispin Miller. Ig Publishing, 2004 (1928). 
  • Boorstin, Daniel J. The Image: A Guide to Pseudo- Events in America. Penguin, 1962. 
  • Dines, G., Humez, J.M., Yousman, B., & Yousman Bindig, L., eds. Gender, Race and Class in Media: A Critical Reader. Sage Publications, 2018. 
  • Frechette, Julie, and Rob Williams, eds. Media Edu­
  • cation for a Digital Generation. Routledge, 2016. 
  • • Fuchs, Christian. Social Media, A Critical Introduction. Sagecrest, 2017. 
  • • Hedges, Chris. Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. Nation Books, 2009. 
  • • Herman, Edward, and Noam Chomsky. Manufactur­ing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. Pantheon Books, 1988. 
  • • Huff, Mickey, and Andy Lee Roth. Censored 2019: Fighting the Fake News Invasion. Seven Stories Press, 2018. 
  • • Levitsky, Steven, and Daniel Ziblatt. How Democracies Die. Harvard, 2018. 
  • • McChesney, Robert W. Digital Disconnect: How Cap­italism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy. The New Press, 2013. 
  • • McChesney, Robert W. The Problem of the Media: U.S. Communication Politics in the 21st Century. Monthly Review Press, 2004. 
  • • Michael, David. Doubt Is Their Product: How Indus­try’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health. Oxford University Press, 2008. 
  • • Pickard, Victor. America’s Battle for Media Democra­cy: The Triumph of Corporate Libertarianism and the Future of Media Reform. Cambridge University Press. 2015. 
  • • Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. Penguin, 1985. 
  • • Roth, Andy Lee, and Mickey Huff. Censored 2018: Press Freedoms in a ‘Post-Truth’ World. Seven Stories Press, 2017. 
  • • Stanley, Jason. How Propaganda Works. Princeton University Press, 2015.
  • Tufekci, Zeynep. Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest. Yale University Press, 2017. 
  • • Wendling, Mike. Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House. Pluto Press, 2018. 
  • • Wu, Tim. The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads. Vintage, 2017. 
  • • Documentaries The Century of the Self. Adam Curtis. BBC, 2002. 
  • Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, Interpositive Media, 2008. 
  • Project Censored the Movie: Ending the Reign of Junk Food News, Hole in the Media Productions and Project Censored, 2013. 
  • Merchants of Doubt. Sony Pictures Classics, 2014. 
  • Get Me Roger Stone, Netflix, 2017. 
  • The Facebook Dilemma. Frontline, 2018. 
  • Authoritarianism 
  • Fuchs, Christian. Digital Demagogue: Authoritarian Capitalism in the Age of Trump and Twitter. Pluto Press, 2018. 
  • Giroux, Henry. American Nightmare: Facing the Chal­lenges of Fascism. City Lights, 2018. 
  • Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. Vintage, 2007. 
  • Snyder, Timothy. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. Tim Dugin Books, 2017. 
  • Stanley, Jason. How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them. Random House, 2018. 
  • Wolin, Sheldon S. Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, New Edition. Princeton University Press, 2017.


Fairness And Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) is a nation­al media watch group offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship. It works to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginal­ize public-interest, minority, and dissenting viewpoints. It maintains a regular dialogue with reporters at news outlets across the country, providing constructive critiques when called for and applauding exceptional, hard-hitting jour­nalism. www.fair.org 

Politifactpublishes fact-based assessments of public state­ments and claims in order to provide citizens with the infor­mation needed to govern themselves in a democracy. Politi­fact’s principles are independence, transparency, fairness, thorough reporting, and clear writing. www.politifact.com 


American Museum of Tort Law was founded by Ralph Nader “to educate, inform and inspire Americans about two things: trial by jury; and the benefits of tort law. Tort law is the law of wrongful injuries, including mo­tor vehicle crashes, defective products, medical malprac­tice, and environmental disasters, among many others.” www.tortmuseum.org 

Public Interest Research Groups (U.S. PIRGs), influ­enced and proposed by Ralph Nader in the early 1970s, are noted advocates for the pubic interest. PIRGs have deliv­ered results-oriented citizen activism, stood up to powerful special interests, and used “the time-tested tools of investigative research, media exposés, grassroots organizing, advocacy, and litigation” to win real results on issues that matter. www.uspirg.org 

PeoplesHubwas started by Sarah van Gelder, found­ing editor of YES! Magazine. The nonprofit PeoplesHub “offers live, interactive trainings and workshops to build community power and make your grassroots work more effective.” Its belief is that “real change can only happen when everyday people come together in their communi­ties—especially in the most marginalized areas throughout the country. The deep change we need will come from the grassroots and spread, community to community, town to city, and city to town.” www.peopleshub.org 

Credder is the world’s first “crowd-contested media” in­teractive online platform to rate the accuracy and quality of news sources and journalists based on critical media liter­acy. Founded by Chase Palmieri, Credder, formerly called Tribeworthy, builds on the popular and now nearly ubiq­uitous digital models of Yelp! and Rotten Tomatoes (for evaluating restaurants and movies, respectively) to rate the efficacy of news sources online. www.credder.com