I was listening to Morning Joe on MSBNC this morning as they reported and commented on the death of US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, at the US consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday. Protesters in both Libya and Egypt have attacked the consulate and embassy in reaction to an amateur video that was promoted online by Terry Jones — a Florida preacher who set fire to the Koran in 2011, sparking protests in Afghanistan.
On the program, frequent guest and commentator Donny Deutsch made this statement (at 4:50 in the video), “What terrifies me in the next 10-20 years [is] how international events will be triggered by what I call the dark underbelly of the Internet and that the average person….cannot distinguish information they are getting from mass media versus just some idiot in his white boxer briefs in the basement. And we will continue to see horrific events as an unfortunate residue of the brilliance of technology and now the underbelly.” Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of Newsweek, added that this is not something that can be legislated.
We often hear that students don’t need to learn research skills anymore when “every thing is on the Internet.” I counter that it is because so much is available online that students need to develop critical thinking skills and learn to evaluate what they see and hear on the Web to be more discerning consumers and citizens. Information Literacy teach students these critical skills in the information age.