The Failure of Skepticism: Rethinking Information Literacy and Political Polarization in a Post-Truth Era

Christopher A. Sweet, Troy Swanson, Jeremy Shermak

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


Fake news has been shown to spread far faster than facts on social media platforms. Rampant fake news has led to deep political polarization and the undermining of basic democratic institutions. Skepticism is an important component of information literacy and has often been pointed to as the antidote to the fake news epidemic. Why are skepticism and information literacy failing so terrifically in this post-truth era? The presenters will summarize research drawn from the fields of psychology and mass communication that shows just how hardwired people are to believe information from their own “tribes” and resist outside contrary information.
How we think about and teach skepticism and information literacy is in need of an overhaul for the twenty-first century. This webinar will introduce some ideas for that overhaul and will also provide practical classroom activities that do a better job of addressing the cognitive aspects of information literacy and skepticism.
Original languageAmerican English
Media of outputOnline
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019


  • Information Literacy
  • Skepticism
  • Political Polarization


  • Library and Information Science

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