Origins of Fake News & the Growth of Conspiracy Theories
Hidden school corruption, what I call White Chalk CrimeTM, gave birth to fake news and the soaring prevalence of conspiracy theories. It spawned an inability to distinguish real news from fake news, creating a corridor to conspiracy theories. Here’s one small example of how school corruption brought us to this dreadful place.
In 1995, I was a highly effective fourth grade teacher, rated excellent and praised by most parents. One of my students failed a note taking assignment on finding facts from legitimate library sources. He accomplished nothing during our library session. His mother then sent him to school with a page of random notes from the Internet, insisting this should substitute for my “archaic lesson” and should serve to change his grade. I disagreed, aware that the Internet offered no verification of truth. Few knew the Internet in 1995, but knowing legitimate sources, I knew it was not that. She played a major role in ending my career.
Parents like her easily planted the seeds for a society unable to distinguish between facts and conspiracies because the opportunity for power and perks had supplanted education’s real purpose. Administrators value ignorant parents that will help them purge quality teachers from their midst. If you read either of my books, you will understand that teachers like me have been “Vindmanned” out of education. Along with their disposal of quality teachers, they disposed of authentic lessons for being part of a democracy.
If I had prevailed, this boy would have learned to value genuine sources of news. Instead, he has likely grown up not understanding the difference between Facebook and the Encyclopedia Britannica. And over time the self interest of those running our schools produced a society of ignorant people.
Reporters, who now suffer the “fake” label due to a generation of undereducated children, have failed to report what was really going on in our schools. They have allowed the corruption to diminish their profession too, eliminating another pillar of democracy. Knowing what I know goes on in our schools, I do not question how our democracy has fallen apart. I question how it did not happen sooner.