Year of Publication
Public Policy and Administration
Dr. Cory Curl
Misinformation online and in news media is a problem because it degrades truth and hinders legitimate democratic discourse. As misinformation becomes more prevalent, we need to start finding ways to limit the extent of the problem. To do so, I recommend a policy solution based on inoculation theory. Inoculation theory, as the name suggests, uses the metaphor of a vaccine. When receiving the flu shot, we get a weakened dose of the virus, which in turn helps us to create antibodies and later be more effective at fighting the real flu. In this instance, people are exposed to weakened doses of misinformation which allows them to create “mental antibodies” and bolster their resistance to misinformation. Misinformation has been proven to “stick,” displaying the critical importance of bolstering resistance prior to exposure, rather than correcting after exposure. My policy recommendation contains three main components aimed at bolstering resistance to misinformation through K-12 education in Kentucky. First, Kentucky should adopt an adapted version of Media Literacy Now’s model bill, which requires the development of a media literacy curriculum, provides appropriate training and resources to teachers and teacher-librarians via the Kentucky Department of Education, and mandates annual surveys to determine best practices for teaching media literacy at all grade levels. Secondly, Kentucky should create additional digital literacy standards focused around identifying and resisting misinformation. Finally, the Kentucky General Assembly should allocate appropriate funds for the Kentucky Department of Education to fulfill the mandates set for them in the first two policies.
Johnson, Allison, "Bolstering Resistance to Misinformation through K-12 Education" (2023). Undergraduate Public Policy Capstone Projects. 2.