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October 12, 2021

Daily News Lesson: How Trump’s disinformation campaign about 2020 presidential election spreads a dangerous message


Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Some students may find it easier to read along with the transcript or turn on closed captions/CC.

Summary: It was his first political rally in Iowa as a former president, but Donald Trump spent much of this weekend’s visit spreading a dangerous message: Sowing doubt unjustifiably, once again, about last year’s presidential election. Some of the state’s most prominent Republicans were in attendance.

Discussion questions: 

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who are Chuck Grassley and Steve Scalise?
  • What did Grassley say about Donald Trump’s actions during the 2020 election versus what is he saying now regarding Trump’s endorsement?
  • When and Where did Trump hold his rally over the weekend?
  • How does Trump’s disinformation campaign affect democracy and trust in the electoral system?

Focus questions:

  1. Why do you think Trump is so popular among members of the Republican party?
  2. Why do you think Rep. Steve Scalise avoided directly answering the question by Fox News’ Chris Wallace?
  3. Have you ever gone along with something because it was the popular thing to do even if it went against your values?

Media literacy: In Yamiche Alcindor’s report she says, “Donald Trump in Iowa, it’s a familiar sight from past campaigns, but, this time, he coupled grievances against Democrats with yet more lies about the 2020 election that he lost.” How important is it for news reporters to be explicit (clear) in stating that there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election? 

Additional resources:

  • For more on President Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, and the long-term effects on trust and polarized perceptions of election integrity, watch the following report from Amna Nawaz.

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