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Understanding and Appreciating Attack Ads

Justin Trudeau’s early days in Parliament as the new Leader of the Liberal Party were accompanied by Conservative Party attack ads. Attack ads criticize personal attributes of their targets rather than the policies they might promote. All political parties use attack ads, but the Conservative ads have been harsh and effective. Mr. Trudeau is the 4th Liberal leader in a short time, each of whom were the objects of strong attack ads. Mr. Trudeau follows Stephane Dion, Michael Ignatieff and interim leader Bob Rae, who took over after Mr. Ignatieff lost his seat—and Official Opposition status—in the 2012 election. Read the rest of this entry

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MIL Activity 7.3: Online content and contact – challenges and risks

Share any experience that you or a friend has had with any one of the challenges outlined in Reading 7.3.

I occasionally receive advice from friends that they are forwarding from other friends. One involved remote car locks, describing someone stealing signals and using them to open and steal vehicles. Another involved the dangers in eating certain commonplace foods. There have been several, each one urging immediate actions be taken to avoid calamity or correct a dangerous situation.

How did you/they deal with it?

In each case, I have searched for the phenomenon on snopes.com  I have always succeeded in finding a result.

What was the final outcome?

In four of the five cases, snopes.com presented me with either the exact or similar post, then explained why it was a hoax. I copied the URL and sent it as a reply to the person from whom I received the original message.

In one of the five cases, snopes.com reported that this was a legitimate warning. I also sent that URL back to the sender, with a thank you.

What lessons did you/they learn?

I learned that snopes.com is generally reliable in identifying WWW hoax messages.

What surprised me is that my friends did NOT learn, and continued to send me unvalidated posts, i.e., did not check the reliability of the data they forwarded to me, even after I told them the last one was a hoax. They seem to be of the opinion that, if it is on the WWW it must be true. Or, that if they received it from a trusted friend, it must be true. I find this uncritical view of internet information disappointing, and an indication that everyone needs increased media literacy.