8 Ways To Turn On Your Brain When Reading The News

Some good advice for the use of your brain from Mary C. Tillotson writing at The Federalist:

Here are questions to ask yourself and frames of mind to be in if you want to sort out what’s fact from what’s propaganda from any side of the political aisle.

I’m in a graduate program studying how to teach English to speakers of other languages, and the nature of the program makes us all sensitive to the difficulties immigrants experience. I was a few minutes late to class the evening of the violent attacks at Ohio State, and I walked in on a conversation about diversity, racism, and fear-mongering.

My classmates shared various perspectives. Some teach at schools with minority students, others are immigrants themselves, and most are well-traveled. I mostly listened. I heard a lot of valid points. Our professor said she was astounded when she found out how many people get their news from Facebook (of all places!) and she wondered how people could learn how to think critically and determine fact from opinion.

I had a hard time believing lack of critical thinking was a big problem until another student said we live in a time when race relations are worse than they ever have been, and everyone just nodded. Having grown up seeing old photographs of drinking fountains labeled “white” and “colored” and learning about the horrors of the antebellum South, I was stunned. There is a huge difference between “needs improvement” and “never been worse.”

With this in mind, I give you eight tips for thinking critically about the news.

1. Know Your Narrative

Everyone has a worldview. Objectivity is a real thing and truth does in fact exist, but the existence of truth doesn’t mean we’re all good at seeing it. If you want to think critically, the first step is to know where you’re coming from.

Read more: The Federalist

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