The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is partnering with NewsGuard — a for-profit “fact-checking” company with deep ties to Big Pharma — to help students in U.S. classrooms “navigate a sea of online disinformation.”
AFT is the second-largest teachers’ union in the U.S. It’s also a staunch advocate of mandatory COVID vaccination and masks for schoolchildren.
Under a deal announced last month, AFT agreed to purchase NewsGuard licenses for its entire membership of teachers — 1.7 million in total — making the NewsGuard tool available to tens of millions of public school students and their families.
Teachers will receive licensed copies of NewsGuard’s internet browser extension, providing access to its “traffic light” ratings and “nutrition label” reviews evaluating the purported reliability of news and information websites when those sites are visited.
Announced during “News Literacy Week,” AFT touted the agreement as an opportunity for its member teachers to play a bigger role in helping their students “navigate a sea of online disinformation.”
“For years, educators have fought battles against suspect sourcing, with their students often misled by dubious outlets and spam sites posing as ‘news’. NewsGuard offers a practical solution, alerting students and educators to those sites while also providing a valuable lesson in media literacy.
“Students and their teachers will be able to see how NewsGuard applies nine criteria of journalistic practice to thousands of websites and will get an immediate read on the truthfulness and rigor of the information they encounter when searching online.”
Randi Weingarten, president of AFT, added:
“We are constantly trying to help our students, particularly our middle, high school and post-secondary students, separate fact from fiction, as we help them develop their critical-thinking and analytical skills.
“NewsGuard is a great tool in this regard. It is a beacon of clarity to expose the dark depths of the internet and uplift those outlets committed to truth and honesty rather than falsehoods and fabrications. This historic deal will not only help us steer clear of increasingly fetid waters—it will provide a valuable lesson in media literacy and a discussion point for teachers in class on what can, and can’t, be trusted.