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Screen Education Introduces Seminar To Combat Our Media-Driven Polarization

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Michael Mercier, President, Screen Education

Michael Mercier, President, Screen Education

Screen Education offers targeted versions of the seminar for general, corporate, and school audiences.

When liberal and conservative news organizations give their audiences contradictory facts, they make it impossible for the public to have productive dialogue regarding solutions to our...problems.”
— Michael Mercier, President, Screen Education

CINCINNATI, OHIO, UNITED STATES, May 31, 2022 / -- Digital wellness research and training company Screen Education today introduced a new seminar titled "How To Combat Our Media-Driven Polarization." The goal of the seminar is to teach participants how to deal with an escalating societal problem: polarization.

The seminar centers around the institution most responsible for this polarization --- the news media. It illustrates how liberal and conservative news organizations polarize the public by presenting contradictory narratives on the same news stories. It further illustrates how they construct these contradictory narratives by basing them upon contradictory facts.

The Hunter Biden laptop story is an example of a polarized news narrative that was based upon contradictory facts. In October, 2020, conservative news organizations reported the existence of the laptop. They claimed its contents were real, and that it contained evidence of crimes. By contrast, liberal news organizations reported that the contents of the laptop were not real --- that they rather were disinformation that had been fabricated by Russia, and that they therefore should be ignored.

The laptop story illustrates how problematic it is when liberal and conservative news organizations report contradictory facts. According to Michael Mercier, President of Screen Education, "Facts are facts, and the facts on a given story obviously should be the same across news providers. The only way liberal and conservative news organizations can report contradictory facts on the same story is if one or both sides manipulate the facts --- if one or both sides censors, fabricates, obfuscates, distorts, or exaggerates the facts. The seminar shows how the majority of polarizing news stories over the last several years were based upon contradictory facts."

By reporting contradictory facts on the same story, liberal and conservative news organizations place their respective audiences into mutually-exclusive realities. As a result, when the two sides attempt to discuss a news story they get mired in nasty arguments over which side's facts are correct. Unable to advance their dialogue beyond their disagreement over facts, they end their discussion abruptly --- often acrimoniously. According to Mercier, "When liberal and conservative news organizations give their audiences contradictory facts, they make it impossible for the public to have productive dialogue regarding solutions to our social and political problems."

The seminar examines the destructive impact this polarization has on our lives. Friends and family sever ties over political disagreements. Colleagues factionalize the workplace by discussing polarizing issues at work. Employers take controversial stances on polarized issues, alienating half their employees and customers. And government officials fail to find even the slightest common ground on important issues. Mercier concludes, "By choosing to manipulate the public, rather than to serve it, news organizations are having an extremely destructive impact on society."

The seminar closes by presenting solutions to the problem of polarization. The general version of the seminar --- which is appropriate for college students, community organizations, churches, etc. --- shows how to get around polarized news narratives to determine the true facts on any given story, how to heal the divide with friends and family, and how to hold the news media accountable.

The corporate version of the seminar shows companies how to manage polarization in the workplace, and provides a framework to assess and manage the risks their organization would face if its executive leadership were to take a public stance on a polarized political issue.

The school version of the seminar --- designed for administrators, teachers, and librarians --- examines the implications that polarized news narratives have for the news literacy curriculum taught in schools.

If your company, school, or group is interested in discussing whether this seminar is appropriate for you, contact Michael Mercier at, or, at (513) 535-7377.

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Screen Education is a Cincinnati-based digital wellness research, training and consulting company. Screen Education has conducted 25 research studies on digital wellness with teens, college students, summer campers, parents, Millennials, and full-time employees. Its research has examined the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical consequences of digital addiction, as well as its impact on academic performance and workplace productivity and safety, the benefits people derive from digital detoxes, and the propaganda techniques the news media use to divide society. Screen Education has delivered its training seminars to schools, corporate audiences, colleges and summer camps, as well as at numerous conferences, including educational technology, summer camp, mindfulness, workplace safety, and marketing conferences.


Michael Mercier
Screen Education
+1 513-535-7377
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