Media Literacy: Finding Truth in Journalism in the 24/7 News Cycle with Nolan Higdon Ph.D. & John O’Connor

Original Air Date Wednesday, January 20, 2021 

The current 24-hour ‘news’ cycle was created to sell products and push agendas.

It does not matter which media outlet you subscribe to, they all have a message to send with hopes of manipulating the mind. And, with the discouragement of critical thinking, deciphering fake news from real news becomes harder and harder with every headline we read. For tips on how to delve deeper to find the truth in the news stories we ingest, Positive Psychology Podcast Host, Lisa Cypers Kamen speaks with two authors who dissect the way news, past and current, is presented. Dr. Nolan Higdon shares tips for identifying fake news and discusses key elements from his current book, The Anatomy of Fake News: A Critical News Literacy Education. John O’Connor details best practices for reconciliation in a hostile political climate and shares information about his book, Postgate: How the Washington Post Betrayed Deep Throat, Covered Up Watergate, and Began Today’s Partisan Advocacy Journalism.


Nolan Higdon — Finding Truth in Journalism:

  • How does the average news consumer know what is real and what is false? [1:49]
  • The transition from news outlet to media empire. [3:50]
  • How fake news threatens democracy. [6:50]
  • How we weeded out critical thinking in the education system. [10:43
  • Tips for analyzing and deconstructing fake news. [13:38]
  • How the element of fear renders us vulnerable. [20:40]
Man with black shirt and dark hair with blue background, guest of new podcast episode of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio about the media and journalism with Nolan Higdon Ph.D. & John O'Connor

Dr. Nolan Higdon

Dr. Nolan Higdon is an author and university lecturer of History and media studies. Higdon’s areas of concentration include youth culture, news media history, and critical media literacy. His most recent publications include United States of Distraction (co-author with Mickey Huff, City Lights, 2019) and The Anatomy of Fake News: A Critical News Literacy Education (University of California Press, 2020). He is co-host of the Along the Line podcast with “Dr. Dreadlocks” Nicholas Baham III, and a longtime contributor to Project Censored’s annual book, Censored.

Book: The Anatomy of Fake News: A Critical News Literacy Education


Along the Line Podcast

@Nolan_Higdon on Twitter





John O’Connor — The Value of Listening:

  • John shares insights about Watergate, Deep Throat, and the Washington Post cover-up. [30:12]
  • How citizens can become more discerning through the activation of critical thinking. [42:25]
  • Political opponents ultimately value the same things. [48:52]


Man with black jacket, gray hair and blue shirt, guest of new podcast episode of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio about the media and journalism with Nolan Higdon Ph.D. & John O'Connor

John O’Connor

John O’Connor is an experienced trial lawyer, practicing law in San Francisco since 1972. He has tried cases in state and federal courts throughout the country. He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Northern California from 1974-1979, representing the United States in both criminal and civil cases. Among his interesting assignments have been representation of the government during the OPEC oil embargo of the 1970s; writing Fifth Amendment and “state of mind” briefs for the prosecution in United States v. Patricia Hearst, and representing W. Mark Felt regarding the revelation of his identity as Deep Throat.

Book: Postgate: How the Washington Post Betrayed Deep Throat, Covered Up Watergate, and Began Today’s Partisan Advocacy Journalism


John OConnor Law Website

John OConnor on Facebook



This episode of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio is sponsored by:

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life A guidebook for learning how to harvest happiness through self-mastery. Happiness waits for no one and sometimes we all need support. What is getting in the way of your happiness right now?


“Fake news is nothing new. Even before TV, there were occasions of untruthful news propagated for the gain of a party or cause.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“Where is it written that critical thinking should go out the window?” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“It’s up to people to look for real information beneath the headline.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“I love news and in order for me to understand what is going on. I actively look for sources that are not obvious.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“If you ask a political opponent, someone who believes completely differently from you, what they value most, their top five responses will be identical to yours but in a different order.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“We can't pretend that fake news is somebody else's problem. It's everywhere.” @Nolan_Higdon on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“Slow down, take in less content, and remind yourself of why we have news in the first place.” @Nolan_Higdon on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“All of the sudden news outlets were concerned with how much money they could make, not how informed the public was.” @Nolan_Higdon on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“When we start conflating the relationship between legitimate journalism with fake news we become quite vulnerable because we can be manipulated to support things or take actions that are against our interest.” @Nolan_Higdon on… Click To Tweet“We need to have media literacy skills to analyze contents before we make decisions.” @Nolan_Higdon on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“Studies show that people who take rigorous critical thinking courses are less likely to get duped by fake news content.” @Nolan_Higdon on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“All news content should have multiple sources; they should be independent sources without conflict of interest.” @Nolan_Higdon on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet “Privilege comes with a certain fragility.” @Nolan_Higdon on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“No one should be shocked that politicians lie.” @Nolan_Higdon on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“There does seem to be a hunger for an authoritarian-like figure amongst our citizenry. So, even though Trump is inept it doesn't mean that hunger has gone away.” @Nolan_Higdon on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“One of the reasons I wrote the book Postgate was because I didn't like the fact that we are not nice to each other anymore.” — John O’Connor on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“I have admiration for Woodward and Bernstein and what they did.” — John O’Connor on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“If I simply uncritically accept what my client tells me, I would not be a very good lawyer.” — John O’Connor on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“There is no substitute for hearing the other side in a respectful way.” — John O’Connor on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“When someone tells you five things and you agree with two of them make sure you let the person know you agree with those two things.” — John O’Connor on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet