Media Literacy is the ability to decipher media messages and their points of views as well as the systems in which they exist (e.g., social media). Being literate in the 21st century means being media literate. We are constantly being bombarded with messages everywhere in both straightforward and subliminal ways. I have been paying very close attention to this for the last two decades after learning that children could not distinguish between advertisement and programming. Unfortunately, since the repeal of the fairness doctrine, news has largely become infotainment, more concerned with ratings and profits than reporting. Social media has been a bloody, double-edged sword when it comes to media literacy.
A couple of years ago, a Twitter page mysteriously appeared in my feed called “Explore Credit Unions” (sometime late last year they changed the name to “Reform Credit Unions.”) I have been a member of credit unions in the past and have had very good experiences with them. In case you don’t know, a credit union is a financial institution that is similar to a bank, with similar services, but it is a member-owned cooperative operated on a non-for-profit basis. They largely work with individuals who would often be turned away at banks. For example, feminist credit unions in the 1970s worked to bypass sexist financial institutions by supporting women’s economic decisions and funding women’s businesses (until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, most banks required a woman to present a male cosigner—her father if she was single and her husband if she was married).
I know credit unions are not without their problems, however the twitter feed for “Reform Credit Unions” implies that they are freeloaders avoiding taxes. My heightened media literacy skills tells me that “Reform Credit Unions” is a distraction, notably away from big banks who caused the economic crisis of 2008. I would also like to note that when there are problems at credit unions, there is justice. Not so with the big banks in 2008—virtually no one was arrested or publicly shamed. Therefore, I find what “Reform Credit Unions” is doing vile—if you truly care, why are you not criticizing banks? I constantly reply to their Tweets and all this time they have never replied to anything I have written (which leads me to think that this Twitter page may be automated).
On January 4, 2022, I was responding to posts from “Reform Credit Unions” and stumbled across another feed called “Tax The Credit Union Cartel” and I, just seeing the name, sloppily assumed that it was another “Reform Credit Unions” and wrongly referred to it as crisis actor for big banks. Again, I made this assumption on the basis on of the name of the feed. Also, the feed itself is less than a month old and only has four followers as of yesterday. I would never have made that statement if a real name was used.
The day after, “Tax The Credit Union Cartel” threatened legal action against me. It was then that I took the time to read what Mr. Carlton Roark is working on. I deleted my tweets. Furthermore, they were not liked or re-Tweeted.
I don’t have that much sway on Twitter. Just scroll my feed and see how many “likes” I typically have. Most of my interaction is with the Film Twitter community and other creative people. Between my little sway on Twitter and Mr. Roark’s new presence and small following I am pretty sure no one saw my Tweets. Regardless, I apologize for rushing to judgment and making wrong statements and generalizations.