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How one California Democratic lawmaker hopes to combat 'fake news

Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez speaks at the Somos Inaugural Gala. (AP/Carlos Delgado)

A California assemblyman is hoping to crack down on the dissemination of "fake news" — beginning in schools.

Jimmy Gomez, a Democrat who represents parts of Los Angeles, introduced legislation Wednesday that would require state school curriculum standards to include tools for spotting false stories masquerading as news.

"Recently, we have seen the corrupting effects of a deliberate propaganda campaign driven by fake news," Gomez said in a statement. "When fake news is repeated, it becomes difficult for the public to discern what's real."

"These attempts to mislead readers pose a direct threat to our democracy," Gomez added.

A press release from Gomez's office stated:

The inability of young people to distinguish real news from fake news makes them less informed about important civic issues and poses a direct threat to our democracy. We need to take steps to prepare students to be as accurately informed as they can be in an increasingly misleading online world.

Gomez's bill, AB 155, would require the Instructional Quality Commission, the advisory board to California's State Board of Education, to implement curriculum pertaining to civil online reasoning for English, math, history, social science and science, according to KCAL-TV.

"Such a curriculum will prepare Californians to recognize the difference between news intended to inform and fake news intended to mislead," Gomez said of his legislation.

Gomez cited a Stanford Graduate School of Education study that says young people can struggle to figure out what is real or fake news. The study claims that young people have a difficult time differentiating between news and advertisements or figuring out the source of information in general.

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