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Morris Library

Is that a fact?: Resources

Speaker Series Information

 Is That a Fact? Media Literacy and (m/Dis)information 


SIU Student Center Auditorium, November 2nd, 2023

The Speaker’s Forum has been held every semester since 2000. It is sponsored and organized through the School of Communication Studies and the Society for Civil Discourse.

4-5 students will be selected through the audition process and will be eligible for a scholarship of up to $1,500. Students will perform their speeches on November 2nd.

Auditions are for undergraduate students only and will be held on Monday and Tuesday, October 23rd and 24th.

Students should prepare a 6-8 minute persuasive speech related to the prompt.

Theme: Is That a Fact? Media Literacy and (M/Dis)information

Every day, via a variety of media, we are bombarded with images, sounds, narratives and opinions about the state of the world, the state of our towns, and the state of our neighborhoods.

These messages blur the political and the personal, and an abundance of "truths" at our fingertips means we will inevitably come across misinformation (incorrect information) and disinformation (information intentionally given to mislead).

As cultural divides widen, we are increasingly challenged to find sources we can trust. Defining methods for discerning what is honest from what is devious is essential for us as critical thinkers.

How do we know what we know? Why do we believe what we believe?

Join the Speaker’s Forum as we search for reliable routes through the fog of (m/dis)information.

For more information contact:
Todd Brown
Director, Speaker’s Center and Speaker’s Forum


Something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest. 
“Clickbait.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Confirmation bias
The tendency to test one's beliefs or conjectures by seeking evidence that might confirm or verify them and to ignore evidence that might disconfirm or refute them.
"Confirmation bias." Oxford Reference. . . Date of access 25 Sep. 2023, <>

False information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth.
“Disinformation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

An investigation of an issue, with the aim of checking that the facts are given correctly.
"Fact-check.",,check%20of%20the%20candidate's%20claims. Accessed on 25 Sep. 2023.

Fake news
False stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media usually created to influence political views or as a joke.
"Fake news.", Cambridge Dictionary, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Identity protective cognition 
Refers to the tendency of individuals to unconsciously dismiss evidence that does not reflect the beliefs that predominate in their group. This is also sometimes called "motivated reasoning."
Kahan, Dan. "Identity.", Accessed 15 Sep. 2023,'s%20identity%2Drelated,sometimes%20called%20%E2%80%9Cmotivated%20reasoning%E2%80%9D.

Media bias
By definition, the word bias refers to showing an unjustified favoritism toward something or someone. Thus, on a very simplistic level, media bias refers to the media exhibiting an unjustifiable favoritism as they cover the news. When the media transmit biased news reports, those reports present viewers with an inaccurate, unbalanced, and/or unfair view of the world around them.
“Media Bias.” Encyclopedia of Political Communication, by David G. Levasseur and Lynda Lee Kaid, 1st ed., Sage Publications, 2008. Credo Reference, Accessed 25 Sept. 2023.

Media literacy
1. Knowledge, understanding, and experience of various media forms. In some definitions the concept includes literacy and numeracy. 2. Competence in using various media and the ability to think critically about them. 3. Levels of skill and competence in using media devices.
"Media literacy." Oxford Reference. . . Date of access 25 Sep. 2023, <>

Incorrect or misleading information.
“Misinformation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

News satire
A type of parody presented in a format typical of mainstream journalism, and called a satire because of its content. News satire has been around almost as long as journalism itself, but it is particularly popular on the web, with websites like The Onion and The Babylon Bee, where it is relatively easy to mimic a legitimate news site. News satire relies heavily on irony and deadpan humor.
Wikipedia contributors. "News satire." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 29 Jul. 2023. Web. 25 Sep. 2023.

Relating to a situation in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs, rather than one based on facts.
"Post-truth.", Cambridge Dictionary, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Refers to the quality of seeming to be true but not necessarily or actually true according to known facts.
“Truthiness.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed on 25 Sep. 2023.


Fact Checking Sites

Journalism & Codes of Ethics

Standards that define journalism

  • Accuracy
  • Research
  • Sourcing
  • Context
  • Fairness

According to the Society of Professional Journalists, "Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair.  Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information."