The mongoose librarian

Among its many unpleasant impacts, Brexit has done information literacy a wry service: it demonstrated how well-founded was the fear that people either would not, or would not be able to, question the source and veracity of the information they were supplied. The appallingly misleading ‘Facts’ leaflet is surely going to replace as librarians’ new favourite instance of misinformation, while the use of brand names and logos – including that of the NHS – to grab both attention and allegiance was, unfortunately, as effective as it was unscrupulous. I’m not even going to mention the biggest lie of all, the one that was literally the size of a double decker bus.

Yet beyond the lies and the deliberately misleading information, there was on many parts a sheer wilful desire not to hear a message that was unwelcome, information that challenged comforting assumptions, implications that didn’t fit with beliefs and world-views. The phrase…

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