KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As Wednesday’s mob broke down the barricades around the United States Capitol building in Washington, critical thinking experts say it demonstrated a breakdown in our nation’s ability to agree on the basic facts of reality.
“It’s just that these people are so tunnel vision now, based on their original convictions,” said Helen Lee Bouygues, president of the Reboot Foundation. “They’re only exposed to information that validates their convictions, even though they may be misinformed.”
Bouygues explains the Reboot Foundation is an organization with some lofty goals.
“Our mission is to promote critical thinking and fight against fake news by promoting media literacy at all age groups.”
In addition to pushing for media literacy programs in schools, Bouygues is urging congress to crack down on social media outlets that deliberately fan the flames of misinformation, rumor, and conspiracy.
“It’s not about fact checking every single item that’s online, but it’s at least showing more transparency of how the algorithm works and at least making it very evident to people that the sites are deliberately structured to tunnel vision you.”
Kent Collins, professor emeritus at Missouri’s School of Journalism takes the optimistic view.
“Fake news is as old as the republic, President Trump just gave it a name,” Collins told FOX4.
Collins likened Wednesday’s capitol chaos to a stress test on the heart of the nation’s institutions.
“There were rioters around the White House when President Nixon was there and protesters were putting daisies in the barrel of M-14 rifles of the federal troops around the White House,” Collins said. “So that will go on, we’ll never be rid of all of that trauma, it’s part of the system.”