Teachers from elementary school through college are telling students how to distinguish between factual and fictional news -and why they should care that there's a difference. Teachers say classroom instruction can play a role in deflating the kind of “Pope endorses Trump“ headlines that muddied the waters during the 2016 presidential campaign. “I think only education can solve this problem,“ said Pat Winters Lauro, a professor at Kean Univer sity in New Jersey who began teaching a course on news literacy this semester.

“It hasn't been a difficult topic to teach in terms of material because there's so much going on out there,“ Lauro said, “but it's difficult in terms of politics because we have such a divided country and the students are divided, too, on their beliefs.“

Judging what to trust was easier when the sources were clearer -magazines, newspapers or something else, said Kean senior Mike Roche, who is taking Lauro's class.Now “it all comes through the same medium of your cellphone or your computer, so it's very easy to blur the lines and not have a clear distinction of what's real and what's fake,“ he said. A California lawmaker last month introduced a bill to require the state to add lessons on how to distinguish between real and fake news to the grade 7-12 curriculum.