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talking about conspiracy theories

September 28, 2022

How One Woman Came to Reject Conspiracy Theories She Once Believed

Ask Students: Why did Robertson come to believe the conspiracy theories? When did she come to doubt the conspiracy theories she had believed in?

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Summary

Like millions of Americans, Karen Robertson of Iuka, Mississippi believed in conspiracy theories. But one day she had an experience that convinced her to challenge her beliefs. She spoke about that moment with student reporter Makenna Mead of Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Youth Media Project. Their conversation is part of our Student Reporting Labs series on misinformation, “Moments of Truth.” For a transcript of this story, click here.

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Discussion Questions

  • Who is profiled in this story, and what is her background?
  • What are some of the conspiracy theories that Karen Robertson believed?
  • Why did Robertson come to believe the conspiracy theories?
  • When did Robertson come to doubt the conspiracy theories she had believed in?
  • How does Robertson suggest others can avoid believing in such theories?

Focus Questions

What do you think is the most important lesson others can take from Robertson’s experience?

Media Literacy: How is the impact of this story shaped by having a young reporter interview Robertson?

Debunking Misinformation and Conspiracies

\Do you have anyone in your life that believes in conspiracy theories? What do you think is the best way to talk to them about believing in such theories after watching this story?

  • Do you know how to avoid falling for misinformation online? Check out this classroom lesson or just the accompanying video below for ideas.
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Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

Addressing Threats to Democracy

Using last year’s January 6, insurrection as a teachable moment, we assembled educational resources to help students reflect on the events leading up to and on that day, as well as resources that explore ongoing threats to the integrity of a democratic government, including how to foster media literacy and civil discourse, understand voter suppression and how to identify misinformation.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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