NEWTON — In a continuing partnership with Catawba Valley Community College, the Catawba County Library is hosting programs related to Tara Westover’s memoir, “Educated.” The book details the author’s decision to give up her family’s unconventional beliefs in order to pursue a formal education.
This month, the library will be looking at the phenomenon of “fake news,” which makes people question the information they get and can prevent them from making good decisions. Although Ruby Ridge wasn’t history’s first instance of misinformation distributed to the public, the deadly incident that pitted a separatist family against the FBI and US Marshals provides a useful lesson in how to detect “fake news.”
The library program will explore the impact that inaccurate information has on people. It was created based on Westover’s distinct memory of her father being anxious after hearing about government incidents and after-the-fact embellishments, especially related to Ruby Ridge. The program also explores the current news environment, including the prominence of social media and the polarization of news media outlets. In addition, it considers what happens when individual incidents or people are used to color entire agencies, organizations, and populations.
Program attendees will be able to see how “fake news” is shared publicly by seeing real-life examples of misinformation as it’s used today, including misleading writing, hoaxes, satire, mimicked websites, photo-editing, and more. With those in mind, participants will get tips to help them remain vigilant and be smart, discerning consumers of the news.
The program takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Main Library in Newton (115 West C St.). A second, Spanish-language session will be offered at 5:30 pm on Thursday, also at the Main Library in Newton.