Coordinator for Information Literacy and Outreach
Michael Corleone advises us to “keep your friends close but your enemies closer” (Godfather, Part II). As librarians and educators work to further develop the information literacy movement, we need to consider the perspective of those who work against our goal of developing citizens who can inform themselves in an objective manner. An example of this class of rivals that poses a particularly poignant threat to the health of democratic institutions is the demagogue, a public figure who employs disinformation to inflame people’s fear and anger, thereby securing for the demagogue a greater percentage of the votes, a larger chunk of the viewership. I believe that a careful examination of the motivations and techniques of past demagogues can put information literacy educators in a better position to help their students critically evaluate inflammatory political communications.