Longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction "There Kevin Young goes again, giving us books we greatly need, cleverly disguised as books we merely want. Unexpectedly essential."--Marlon James Award-winning poet and critic Kevin Young tours us through a rogue's gallery of hoaxers, plagiarists, forgers, and fakers--from the humbug of P. T. Barnum and Edgar Allan Poe to the unrepentant bunk of JT LeRoy and Donald J. Trump.Bunk traces the history of the hoax as a peculiarly American phenomenon, examining what motivates hucksters and makes the rest of us so gullible. Disturbingly, Young finds that fakery is woven from stereotype and suspicion, race being the most insidious American hoax of all. He chronicles how Barnum came to fame by displaying figures like Joice Heth, a black woman whom he pretended was the 161-year-old nursemaid to George Washington, and What Is It?, an African American man Barnum professed was a newly discovered missing link in evolution. Bunk then turns to the hoaxing of history and the ways that forgers, plagiarists, and journalistic fakers invent backstories and falsehoods to sell us lies about themselves and about the world in our own time, from pretend Native Americans Grey Owl and Nasdijj to the deadly imposture of Clark Rockefeller, from the made-up memoirs of James Frey to the identity theft of Rachel Dolezal. In this brilliant and timely work, Young asks what it means to live in a post-factual world of "truthiness" where everything is up for interpretation and everyone is subject to a pervasive cynicism that damages our ideas of reality, fact, and art.
As recent national events have proven, the floodgates have opened and the political terrain is shifting rapidly with the dangerous concept of "alternative facts" supplanting actual facts at the highest levels of our government and in new media sources that are intentionally designed to spread obfuscation and lies. This brief, accessible citizen's guide helps you fight this deeply troubling trend and ensure that truth is not a permanent casualty. Written by Capitol Hill veteran and longtime journalist Bruce Bartlett, The Truth Mattersteaches you how to drive through a media environment littered with potholes and other dangers, providing actionable tips, tricks, recommendations, and shortcuts for both casual news consumers and journalists.
The enthralling and never-told story of the War of the Worlds radio drama and its true aftermath On October 30, 1938, families across the country were gathered around their radios when their regular programming was interrupted by an announcer delivering news of a meteor strike in New Jersey. With increasing intensity, the announcer read bulletins describing terrifying war machines moving toward New York City. As the invading force approached, some listeners sat transfixed before their radios, while others ran to alert neighbors or call the police. Some even fled their homes in panic. But the broadcast was not breaking news--it was Orson Welles's adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic The War of the Worlds. In Broadcast Hysteria, A. Brad Schwartz examines the history behind the infamous radio play. Did it really spawn a wave of mass hysteria? Schwartz is the first to examine the hundreds of letters sent directly to Welles after the broadcast. He draws upon them, and hundreds more sent to the FCC, to recapture the roiling emotions of a bygone era, and his findings challenge conventional wisdom. Relatively few listeners believed an actual attack was under way. But even so, Schwartz shows that Welles's broadcast prompted a different kind of "mass panic" as Americans debated the bewitching power of the radio and the country's vulnerability in a time of crisis. Schwartz's original research, gifted storytelling, and thoughtful analysis make Broadcast Hysteria a groundbreaking work of media history.
David E. McCraw recounts his experiences as the top newsroom lawyer for theNew York Times during the most turbulent era for journalism in generations. In October 2016, when Donald Trump's lawyer demanded thatThe New York Times retract an article focused on two women that accused Trump of touching them inappropriately, David McCraw's scathing letter of refusal went viral and he became a hero of press freedom everywhere. But as you'll see inTruth in Our Times, for the top newsroom lawyer at the paper of record, it was just another day at the office. McCraw has worked at theTimessince 2002, leading the paper's fight for freedom of information, defending it against libel suits, and providing legal counsel to the reporters breaking the biggest stories of the year. In short: if you've read a controversial story in the paper since the Bush administration, it went across his desk first. From Chelsea Manning's leaks to Trump's tax returns, McCraw is at the center of the paper's decisions about what news is fit to print. InTruth in Our Times,McCraw recounts the hard legal decisions behind the most impactful stories of the last decade with candor and style. The book is simultaneously a rare peek behind the curtain of the celebrated organization, a love letter to freedom of the press, and a decisive rebuttal of Trump's fake news slur through a series of hard cases. It is an absolute must-have for any dedicated reader ofThe New York Times.
This book provides a comprehensive and impartial overview of the state of American journalism and news-gathering in the 21st century, with a special focus on the rise--and meaning--of "fake news." * Reflects an easy-to-navigate question-and-answer format * Uses quantifiable data from respected sources as the foundation for examining every issue * Provides readers with leads to conduct further research in extensive Further Reading sections accompanying each entry * Analyzes claims made by individuals and groups of all political backgrounds and ideologies to fairly represent a diversity of perspectives
"Talk of so-called fake news, what it is and what it isn't, is front and center across the media landscape, with new calls for the public to acquire appropriate research and evaluation skills and become more information savvy. But none of this is new for librarians and information professionals, particularly for those who teach information literacy. Cooke, a Library Journal Mover & Shaker, believes that the current situation represents a golden opportunity for librarians to impart these important skills to patrons, regardless of their age or experience. In this Special Report, she demonstrates how. Readers will learn more about the rise of fake news, particularly those information behaviors that have perpetuated its spread; discover techniques to identify fake news, especially online; and explore methods to help library patrons of all ages think critically about information, teaching them ways to separate fact from fiction. Information literacy is a key skill for all news consumers, and this Special Report shows how librarians can make a difference by helping patrons identify misinformation
Our society faces international challenges from cyber attacks and dissemination of fake news with a goal to destabilize our society. Fake news can be used as a weapon with destructive effects as powerful as any military attack. Fake news can spread as fast as a wildfire carried on the winds of social media. Students and all citizens need to be prepared and informed of ways to quickly understand and distinguish real and fake news. Preventing the potential destructive effects of fake news is the purpose of this book. The focus is upon providing a resource for educators to develop “news literacy” skills of students in objectively evaluating the news.
In this controversial essay, Carlos Elías addresses the worldwide phenomenon that is threatening the scientific and economic progress of Western countries. The rise and influence of magic and irrationality in the media, in social networks and at universities is a disturbing phenomenon: many Western students no longer want to pursue STEM (Science, Technologies, Engineering, and Math) careers. This lucid and well-written book addresses one of the key issues of public debate: the deteriorating state of science in Western countries and their governments, and its rise in Asian countries. The author compares two distinct models: the Spanish or Latin model, which closed the door on science with the Counter-Reformation, and that employed by a second group of countries where science was encouraged. Elías suggests that a similar development could now be taking place between Western countries (where the press, television and social science academics are becoming increasingly critical towards science) and Asia, where most prime ministers (and other politicians) are scientists or engineers.
The social dynamics of "alternative facts": why what you believe depends on who you know Why should we care about having true beliefs? And why do demonstrably false beliefs persist and spread despite consequences for the people who hold them? Philosophers of science Cailin O'Connor and James Weatherall argue that social factors, rather than individual psychology, are what's essential to understanding the spread and persistence of false belief. It might seem that there's an obvious reason that true beliefs matter: false beliefs will hurt you. But if that's right, then why is it (apparently) irrelevant to many people whether they believe true things or not? In an age riven by "fake news," "alternative facts," and disputes over the validity of everything from climate change to the size of inauguration crowds, the authors argue that social factors, not individual psychology, are what's essential to understanding the persistence of false belief and that we must know how those social forces work in order to fight misinformation effectively.