The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

Language during a crisis: The importance of media literacy

Photo collage by Gianna Puglisi
Popular social media outlets that are used in discourse

In light of the recent events surrounding Israel and Palestine, the importance of media literacy has become more apparent than ever. When it comes to what you’re posting or reposting, it’s essential that you know where it is sourced, if that source is reliable and that the information is accurate. To this already significant moment in history, the effect that misinformation has is far greater than you might expect.

According to, media literacy is the ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages being sent. Since Hamas’ initial attacks on Oct. 7, social media has been infused with the rapid spread of misinformation.

Social media algorithms produce posts similar to those that you have already interacted with. This leads to users immersing themselves in content that likely only details one side, whether the information is accurate or not. This is one of the main reasons why social media has contributed to the decline of media literacy. Thus, when a feed becomes your news source, there is an overall loss of objectivity that results in the spread of misinformation.

Mainstream news outlets have suffered greatly during this time due to constant claims of being corrupt. According to, MSNBC viewership has decreased after refusing to refer to Hamas attackers as terrorists. They have lost 33 percent of their viewers since the deadly attack on Israel. In contrast, Fox News viewership has increased by 42 percent and CNN has increased by 17 percent. With displaced viewership and a variation in the content being produced by these outlets, it is critical to consume commentary from multiple sources. Trust is no longer a given to news outlets, but fact-checking for them against other outlets and primary sources has become more important than ever.

Additionally, content creators with large audiences have faced backlash on the inaccurate or misinformed posts or reposts they’ve made. For example, Justin Bieber posted on his Instagram story that read “Praying for Israel.” What the singer didn’t realize was that the background of the post, a demolished building, was actually in Gaza. Comments made by other users led him to take down the repost.

Another issue that users face is succumbing to hate or opposing viewpoints. For example, Kylie Jenner faced backlash for reposting on her Instagram story, “Now and always, we stand with the people of Israel!” However, she faced even more backlash for taking it down. People felt that not backing up what she had posted showed that she wasn’t informed enough to know why she was posting in the first place.

This is not to say the consumption of current events through media is bad as a whole. Instead, media literacy simply encourages critical thinking and responsible posting.

So, how do you distinguish between inaccurate, biased information and the truth? In this context, it’s important to find a source that has accurate information pertaining to history and fact. From there, ask yourself who created this post and what was their goal. Were any details left out or looked over? Is the photo attached to the information recent and the right location? What techniques did the author use to maybe make you overlook information or invoke an emotional response? Did they provide sources?

All of these are important questions to ask yourself when looking to show your support for those involved in the Israel-Hamas War, or any conflict for that matter. Do not post to follow the trend, post to create a voice for those who need it and do so responsibly.

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