I recently listened to a really interesting podcast. The podcast was an episode of Scroobius Pip’s ‘Distraction Pieces‘, which you can take a look at online, or download on itunes, and this particular edition featured a couple of people who work for the website fullfact.org. I think that this episode is well worth a listen to, and the Full Fact website one that will be very useful to Media Studies students.
The two guests on the podcast talked about what Full Fact is, how it began and the work that they do. The team at Full Fact basically investigate stories from the media, as well as online social-media, generally those that have some form of a political angle, and look into the basis of the claims made by the article, the people featured, the stats quoted etc, to see whether they are all factual and do not distort the facts. They then then post an article on their website discussing the original article and, if it was inaccurate or mis-representative, they address these and debunk the claims made.
On the podcast they discuss stories such as one about illegal immigrants receiving more benefits than pensioners (click here) and an article in The Sun about knife crime and some very dodgy statistics that actually meant the law was being scrutinised to make mandatory jail sentences apply to anyone aged 16 and above, rather than 18 and above. You can take a look at their website to get more of an idea of their work, and see the scope of what they do. I think this will be a very interesting resource for you to be aware of, and potentially use in your course both in Media Studies, and potentially across other subjects too.
The discussion on the podcast is fascinating, and they give a real insight into the way the British press work, and the potential for inaccuracies easily working their way into print and igniting public outrage with false information.
All in all, this all links in to the idea that we, as consumers of media always need to read information with a critical idea. We need to think about what the information is attempting to make us believe, how convincing the article is and the evidence that they have presented, and whether the evidence is reliable and trustworthy or if you might want to look further into the issues that are being discussed and presented.