Don't Buy It Sometimes a person's circumstances transform what they observe into subtle changes of meaning when communicated to others. Sometimes people deliberately put a "spin" on information they provide.

In 1942, materials were scarce and needed for the war effort. How would this poster make you feel if you were to buy something you didn't need? Compare the message in If You Don't Need It ... Don't Buy It! with a magazine advertisement. How does the advertisement imply you will feel if you buy the advertised product? What is the advertisers motive for leading you to this conclusion?

Advertisements have an obvious bias. The perspective of other information sources may not be so clear. When evaluating information sources, consider:

  • the date of publication,
  • the expertise of the author,
  • whether the information is a primary or secondary source, if secondary - where the information originated,
  • reliability of data and possible circumstances leading to inaccuracy.

For related information on media literacy, visit The University of Oregon's Media Literacy Online Project. For information and links related to primary sources, visit Michigan State University's Primary Sources Network.

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