Facts & “Post-Truth”

I. Attendance on Starfish.

II. What is a fact and why does it matter?

  • Take this 5-minute quiz on “How DigiPo Defines a Fact.
  • Pull up your other reading for today: William Davies’s essay, “The Age of Post-Truth Politics.” According to Davies, there is a “crisis of facts” in Western democracies. What does he mean by this? Point to some moments in the reading.
  • What role has technology played in the shift from a “society of facts to a society of data,” as he puts it? How is it “possible to live in a world of data but no facts”?
  • Davies’s essay was published in the Opinion section of the NYT. Still, are there any facts presented in his essay, as Caulfield defined them? What are they?

III. Finding facts to check

In some ways, the focus of this entire first unit is knowing when you should double-check the information you encounter on the web. We’ll discuss different contexts for these encounters, looking at moments when claims and facts tend to blur and understanding the ways virality, emotion, and distractions interfere with our ability to assess information clearly and quickly on the web. That said, let’s brainstorm some places where or situations when we should take a closer look at the information we receive. For example, finding hashtags on controversial topics on social media sites like Twitter can lead to a host of so-called facts worth checking. This one might be a good candidate, for example:


IV. WordPress set up, continued

Today we will spend some time in class continuing to set up your WordPress site.

  1. Review our Unit 1 assignment and look at some student sites from last semester: [Actual Facts] [amandaswrt17] [domenicawrt]
  2. Find your URL, and copy and paste it next to your name in this spreadsheet. Note: your URL does not start with wordpress.com; it starts with your blog name (i.e. superstar_sofia.wordpress.com). Adding your URL to the spreadsheet allows me, and others in the class, to find your blog easily.
  3. Choose a theme and begin to play around with customizations and headers. Make a unique header.
  4. Make an About page that tells us a little about yourself. Include a professional-rated image. Let’s also talk about the difference between pages and posts.

Homework for Wednesday, 1/24

  • Read Caulfield’s Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers: Chapters 1-6
  • In a Google Doc that is saved in your WRT student folder, list 4-5 potential facts worth checking. Note the source and provide the link. Remember that DigiPo defines a fact, as “something that is generally not disputed by people in a position to know who can be relied on to accurately tell the truth.” Given this definition, which facts on your list might be easier to check than others? What would you have to know or do in order to go about checking this fact?