Apple teams with media literacy programs in the U.S. and Europe

Apple today announced a new initiative in support of leading nonprofit organizations in the US and Europe that offer nonpartisan, independent media literacy programs. The News Literacy Project (NLP) and Common Sense in the US and Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori in Italy will each receive support from Apple to advance their efforts in empowering young people with the critical thinking skills necessary in today’s digital age.

“News literacy is vital to sustaining a free press and thriving democracy, and we are proud to be collaborating with organizations on the front lines of this effort,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. “We’ve been impressed by the important work being done by the News Literacy Project, Common Sense and Osservatorio, empowering young people to be active and engaged citizens.”

“Apple News is committed to presenting quality journalism from trusted sources,” said Lauren Kern, editor-in-chief of Apple News, in a statement. “We’re thrilled that Apple is supporting these important organizations to train the next generation on how to seek out accurate and reliable information amid an increasingly complicated news landscape.”

“We are grateful for Apple’s commitment to fighting misinformation and sustaining quality journalism,” said Alan C. Miller, founder and CEO of NLP, in a statement. “NLP is committed to equipping the next generation with the critical thinking skills to discern what news and other information to trust and the tools to become informed and engaged participants in our country’s democracy. We welcome this timely initiative to help achieve our vision of seeing news literacy embedded in the American educational experience.”

“The lack of young people’s news literacy skills is a growing problem for our country. Revelations about the manipulation of news and the resulting impact on society have shed light on both the importance and scale of the issue,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense, in a statement. “We need to help our students not just seek out legitimate news, but also think critically about the broader world of media and ideas. Apple shares in our mission to raise a generation of children who will thrive as learners, leaders and citizens in the digital age, and Common Sense is delighted to be part of this important effort.”

“Our mission is to help young people develop critical thinking skills by comparing different sources of quality information,” said Andrea Ceccherini, founder and CEO of Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori, in a statement. “At a time when fake news is spreading, we cannot give in to the idea that third-party fact-checking services are the only way to assess the reliability of news sources. We can exercise our own minds, and be masters of our own destiny. Our ambition is to help form more citizens, increasingly opening our society to a culture of civilized debate and confrontation, which is the basis of every healthy democracy.”

The News Literacy Project
The News Literacy Project (NLP), a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, empowers educators to teach middle school and high school students the skills they need to become smart, active consumers of news and other information and engaged, informed participants in our democracy. Since NLP’s signature education platform, the Checkology virtual classroom, was released in May 2016, more than 17,800 educators in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, three US territories and 104 other countries have registered to use it, and more than 124,000 students have benefited from its lessons. Students have told NLP that as a result of what they have learned in Checkology, they are more confident in their ability to discern and create credible information, have a greater appreciation of the role of a free press in a democracy, and are more likely to become civically engaged by voting when eligible to do so or by becoming politically active. NLP’s vision is to see news literacy — a critical life skill — embedded in the American educational experience.

Common Sense
Common Sense is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in the digital age. Common Sense Education supports K-12 schools with everything educators need to empower the next generation of digital citizens. The organization’s innovative, award-winning Digital Citizenship Curriculum prepares students with lifelong habits and skills, supports teachers with training and recognition, and engages families and communities with helpful tips and tools. To help young people navigate today’s news landscape with sharp and open minds, Common Sense aims to help students not just seek out legitimate news, but also think critically about the broader world of media and ideas. The Common Sense news literacy initiative will provide timely content and resources for parents, educators and teens with the goal of improving news literacy among young people. Common Sense Digital Citizenship Curriculum is taught in more than half the schools in the United States, by more than 700,000 educators.

Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori
Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori is Italy’s leading independent organization in citizenship education focused on media literacy projects. For over 18 years, Osservatorio’s mission has been to help today’s young people become citizens of tomorrow, participate more in our democracy and develop critical thinking that sets them free. Osservatorio operates in education by training high school teachers, who then bring Osservatorio’s media literacy projects into their classrooms with the goal of increasing student curiosity, thirst for knowledge and critical thinking. As students compare different quality news sources, they learn to distinguish between reliable journalism and fake news.

Source: Apple Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple dives deeper into the…

Can of worms

Apple CEO Cook: ‘Fake news’ is ‘killing people’s minds’ – February 11, 2017

“Tim Cook, the boss of Apple, is calling for governments to launch a public information campaign to fight the scourge of fake news, which is ‘killing people’s minds,'” Allister Heath reports for The Telegraph. “In an impassioned plea, Mr Cook, boss of the world’s largest company, says that the epidemic of false reports ‘is a big problem in a lot of the world’ and necessitates a crackdown by the authorities and technology firms.”

“‘It has to be ingrained in the schools, it has to be ingrained in the public,’ said Mr Cook. ‘There has to be a massive campaign. We have to think through every demographic… We need the modern version of a public-service announcement campaign. It can be done quickly if there is a will,'” Heath reports. “‘We are going through this period of time right here where unfortunately some of the people that are winning are the people that spend their time trying to get the most clicks, not tell the most truth,’ he said. ‘It’s killing people’s minds in a way.'”

“Tech firms, which have been criticised for doing too little, also need to up their game, he said. ‘All of us technology companies need to create some tools that help diminish the volume of fake news. We must try to squeeze this without stepping on freedom of speech and of the press, but we must also help the reader. Too many of us are just in the complain category right now and haven’t figured out what to do,'” Heath reports. “‘The [rise of fake news] is a short-term thing – I don’t believe that people want that at the end of the day,’ [Cook said]. A new approach was required in schools, he said. ‘It’s almost as if a new course is required for the modern kid, for the digital kid.’ But he is optimistic. ‘In some ways kids will be the easiest to educate. At least before a certain age, they are very much in listen and understand [mode], and they then push their parents to act.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Our Take, from that February 11, 2017 article:

Who determines what’s “real” news and what’s “fake?”

Anyone who’s been paying any attention for the last, oh, forever (unlike Cook, who inexplicably thinks this is a “short-term thing”) can cite examples of so-called news that are biased one way or the other. In fact, history is littered with examples where the the facts were altered to suit a specific purpose.

We reread The Telegraph‘s full article six times. Is Cook really saying that the authorities and technology firms need to get the kids indoctrinated while they’re still malleable? If not, what did we miss?

And, are these the same technology firms who donated 60 times more to one party than to the other in the last U.S. Presidential election? If you don’t find that idea chilling, just imagine these “authorities and technology firms” — oh, let’s just call them “Ministry of Truth” (it has a nicer ring to it) — on the side of those espousing ideas that you oppose instead.

In the U.S., for a Democrat, “real” news is MSNBC and “fake” news is Fox News. For a Republican, it’s exactly the opposite. We’re sure it’s similar in every country with a “free press” in the world.

Again, who determines what’s “real” news and what’s “fake?” Cook seems to want “technology companies'” idea of what’s “real” to be “ingrained in the schools” and “ingrained in the public.” Technology companies, again, who donated 99% of their political dollars to one party in the last U.S. Presidential election.

If this is really what Cook desires then… Wow. Just wow.

Oh, good, it’s time for one of those “public service announcements” that Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned. This one is from the 1940s:

That’s right, at one time, smoking was considered healthy and even said to prevent various illnesses. “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette,” dontcha know?

Telling “the most truth,” no doubt. “Ingrained in the schools, ingrained in the public.” “Killing people’s minds” …via their lungs.

And now for some quotes from George Orwell’s 1984 (you know, the one upon which Apple once based a TV commercial):

• The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.

Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.

Orthodoxy means not thinking — not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

So long as they (the Proles) continued to work and breed, their other activities were without importance. Left to themselves, like cattle turned loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had reverted to a style of life that appeared to be natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern…Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.

The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.

• Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.

And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed — if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.

We’re going to hope and pray that Cook was misquoted and/or taken wildly out of context in this report.

One more quote: Think Different.

Apple hiring activity shows a clear mission to get deeper into editorial publishing – May 8, 2018
Apple CEO Cook: ‘Fake news’ is ‘killing people’s minds’ – February 11, 2017


  1. when some event of interest, no decoration, no embroidery, voyages into the ears and the eyes of my smart friends and into the ears and eyes of my stupid friends and, also, of my woefully adrift friends and then, each recounts the event, each comes out spinning like a top and, for awhile, you may not even notice. this won’t be easy. news needs a bit of context which needs a bigger context and a bigger context. we are human beings, all subject to the same frailty and weakness. dan rather’s news story spins very different than does tucker carlson’s news than does bill moyer than does john bolton than does ben shapiro than does don lemon. one of my biggest fears is becoming one of the herd mentality like so many of my poor peers.

  2. Ever since Socrates, civilization has been founded on the principles that actions should be grounded in knowledge, that knowledge is different from ungrounded opinion, and that it is possible to tell the difference. Over that 25-century span, it has seemed essential for as many people as possible to be taught how to recognize facts and distinguish them from ungrounded assertions.

    Suddenly, we have people in positions of great authority who deny that basic foundation for civilization by suggesting that actions should be driven by gut feelings rather than fact-based, that there is no real difference between facts and opinion or knowledge and belief, and that therefore everyone’s opinion is equally valid. In that value system, there is no proof of anything, so any attempt to teach someone how to recognize facts must be propaganda for a particular point of view.

    It is a corrosive for any hope of a coherent society.

    1. It’s not really “suddenly.” It’s been going on forever.

      For one glaring example, “America’s most trusted man,” Walter Cronkite, who anchored the #1 News program in the country on CBS from 1962 until 1981 — two decades — was a socialist.

      He was immediately replaced by another socialist, Dan Rather — notice it’s always the leftists who infiltrate the institutions for their own gain — who actually stooped to using fabricated documents (FAKE NEWS) regarding Republican President George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service in an attempt to damage the president. Rather was eventually forced to retire in 2005 as we was caught in his own lies. Nowadays, the ABC/NBC/CBS/CNN/MSNBC’s of the word would pat him on the back, say “good try,” and give him a raise.

      That’s over 40 years of having two anti-Republican socialists anchoring the #1 news program in the United States of America.

      It doesn’t get more corrosive than that, my hopelessly deluded friend.

      1. One of the things classical logic taught was that ad hominem arguments have no probative force. An assertion of fact by George Washington or a socialist has to be assessed on whether it is true or false, not on whether you agree with the speaker’s politics. To say otherwise is a giant step down the slippery slope towards claiming that there is no proof for anything, just political opinion.

        1. As a former Republican, I can attest that the current self proclaimed conservatives have abandoned most of the principles that once made America the most admired country.

          At some point, “America First” doesn’t work and the USA will need friends. I don’t see how the 360 million Americans locked inside a wall are going to compete globally against 1.4 billion Chinamen. The USA has to develop allies pronto. Trump is doing the exact opposite. Future American prosperity depends on sharing the costs of global peacekeeping and trading with trusted partners. Why then does Trump treat Mexico, Canada, Europe, and the UK as “trading enemies“?????? This will harm American companies for decades.

          Left and right extremes are fed nonstop propaganda from their respective handlers, but in the case of neocons, the downside of listening to them is much more damaging than having some extreme liberal waste taxpayer money on do-good social projects. The economy can tolerate low levels of community projects that the neocons label as socialist waste. The country cannot stand the paranoia divisionist go it alone isolationism that Trump sells.

          And it goes back years before Trump. McConnell prevented any bill of substance from getting to the floor since 2010. Wise republican sponsored bills were even squashed by a do- nothing congress because McConnell and Ryan were busy gerrymandering party wins, not representing Americans and small businesses. Only large corporation donors are listened to.

          The neocons are enriching multinationals and in so doing bankrupting the USA with unsustainable tax policy, isolationist foreign policy, and shockingly backward economic priorities. Education remains unfunded. Health in the USA is falling.

          Congress and the Trump administration had years to reform legislation and make government work more efficiently, instead they voted themselves millionaires tax cuts and shut down government so critical (and underfunded) organizations like the FAA were out to lunch when obviously they need to do more. Trade deficit under Trump sets new records every year. If Nixon or Reagan in his prime walked into a debate, they would be vilified as a liberal and socialist by the current neocons.

          Then we have to listen to blowhard First Whatever lie day after day that leftists are infiltrating organizations for personal gain. Ha! Who says “me first” all the time? Gordon Gecko First Then does. Not the idiot left. If so-called socialists want to spend money on the greater good, how is this personal enrichment? Only when you transcend mere socialism and get to fascism and dictatorship masquerading as socialism (Venezuela or Trump’s good buddies in Russia, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, ….) do you see personal enrichment to the level Trump likes. How much money do you think a competent leader like Angela Merkel makes? By all objective measures Merkel has consistently outperformed Trump. Beocons still villify her. Why? Why not model some US reforms on successful German policies? God knows US workers would benefit from German style trade schools.

          Neocon puppets of multinational corporations have brainwashed the right into voting against their own interests so that Wall Street can take ever increasing slices of the pie. Leftists complain about citizens rights and you attack them firsty????? You are a greedy selfish bastard.

          I urge US voters to balance the pros and cons of both sides rather than subscribing to the extreme right which seems to have ownership of this forum. Centrists are not “socialist” or “leftists”.

      2. Blind tribe peon Firsty thinks everyone not in his bunker is a socialist.

        One wonders what founding fathers would have to say to this extremely deluded tory. After all, Franklin set up public libraries. Washington the Continental Army. Hamilton the Federal bank to manage the debts of the fledgling nation. All socialist answers to issues that private financing cannot or will not fix. Those expensive complex issues are only bigger and more complex today. Our society requires efficient regulation and management to oversee the oligarchs who, if left to their own devices, would happily make Rockefeller’s financial and political power look weak. International companies have already decimated the US middle class. First has no answer except to scapegoat anyone with a social conscience or a foreign name.

        Firsty and his Trumpian friends would prefer monarchy as long as they could sit on the House of Lords and act as bankers to the king. But they don’t have any financial abilities so they bitch and moan on tech forums instead.

  3. MDN. Truth and facts are not negotiable. They are not some “wow “ moment or subject to partisan ‘fake news’ interpretation of denial. They are the basic requirements to make a considered opinion that has merit.
    Political donations from a narrow industrial sector to one particular party, are an indication of where they think their interests will be best addressed. No more than that. If it is wrong for tech companies to overwhelmingly support the Democrats then pharma, oil, gas,coal together with vast numbers of the financial backbone also overwhelmingly contributing to Republicans is also wrong. Apple thinks it’s corporate image that has environmental concerns up front and central is never going to support the party that has never been on board that train; rather, the Republicans wage war on environmental concerns to the point of science denial, removing protections and reducing safety regulations that benefit everyone.
    Back to the article – you sound suspiciously aligned with Botty’s outrage about “being ingrained”…same words too. It’s a tired red herring meme. Tim Cook was, to anyone who is not paranoid, only promoting the idea of always ‘questioning ‘ presented news with the right tools. You know…grey matter, neurons, thought processes by encouraging folk to ask ”Maybe I’m wrong, I should look deeper, read another viewpoint, find out for myself rather than accept what is served up”.
    For many, imbued from an early age with tribal loyalties, it’s just not going to happen and the status quo will ensure there is no backsliding. For the young it’s a different matter. This is where the idea of ‘questioning everything’ which to my mind is the fundamental root argument for education and independent expression. Botty saw this as “What next…kids telling grownups what to think!”
    Right…as if youthful confidence armed with a questioning mind is somehow a bad thing, akin to a communist takeover. Sheesh. Rational folks armed with an adult appreciation of the difference between fact and fiction, who wish to arm their children with skills, wisdom and knowledgeable expression devoid of confrontational divisive cant will welcome any initiative that enables their children’s future survival. This is not brainwashing or mind control, it’s the very definition of an open mind, where class, religious, family, tribal and mindless allegiances are discounted as representative of an irretrievable past and utterly useless in a world that continuously evolves. Where violent confrontation has no place. Where responsibiity and power is proportionate and not resting solely in the hands of 5% who only care for themselves.
    A metaphorical drone_free world of individuals capable of thinking for themselves. With no baggage. And no walls.
    I just cannot see any negatives here and applaud Apple’s investment in such a future.

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