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.

SEE ALSO:
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