Skip to Main Content
What is fake news?
Fake news is information that is clearly and demonstrably fabricated and that has been packaged and distributed to appear as legitimate news. This narrow definition seeks to distinguish fake news from other types of misleading information by clarifying that the former is patently false and was created and presented in a way meant to deceive consumers into thinking it is real. Fake news refers to a specific piece of information; it does not refer to any particular type of news outlet, individual, or other actor. - Understanding the Fake News Universe by Media Matters for America
Mistakes in reporting are not fake news...
Satire is not fake news...
Fake News: Context
The Sun and the Moon by On August 26, 1835, a fledgling newspaper called the Sun brought to New York the first accounts of remarkable lunar discoveries. A series of six articles reported the existence of life on the moon--including unicorns, beavers that walked on their hind legs, and four-foot-tall flying man-bats. In a matter of weeks it was the most broadly circulated newspaper story of the era, and the Sun, a working-class upstart, became the most widely read paper in the world. An exhilarating narrative history of a divided city on the cusp of greatness, and tale of a crew of writers, editors, and charlatans who stumbled on a new kind of journalism, The Sun and the Moon tells the surprisingly true story of the penny papers that made America a nation of newspaper readers.
Publication Date: 2008-10-14
Empire of Illusion by We now live in two Americas. One--now the minority--functions in a print-based, literate world that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other--the majority--is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. To this majority--which crosses social class lines, though the poor are overwhelmingly affected--presidential debate and political rhetoric is pitched at a sixth-grade reading level. In this "other America,” serious film and theater, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of society. In the tradition of Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges navigates this culture--attending WWF contests, the Adult Video News Awards in Las Vegas, and Ivy League graduation ceremonies--to expose an age of terrifying decline and heightened self-delusion.
Publication Date: 2009-07-14
The Stewart/Colbert Effect by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report have attracted much interest in recent years from popular audiences as well as scholars in various disciplines. Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have been named on Time magazine's list of the most influential people in the world. The ten essays in this interdisciplinary collection explore the issues engendered by the popularity of entertainment news, including the role of satire in politics, the declining level of trust in traditional sources of media, the shows' cathartic or informational function, and the ways in which these shows influence public opinion. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
Publication Date: 2011-05-04
Fake News by New perspectives on the misinformation ecosystem that is the production and circulation of fake news. What is fake news? Is it an item on Breitbart, an article in The Onion, an outright falsehood disseminated via Russian bot, or a catchphrase used by a politician to discredit a story he doesn't like? This book examines the real fake news: the constant flow of purposefully crafted, sensational, emotionally charged, misleading or totally fabricated information that mimics the form of mainstream news. Rather than viewing fake news through a single lens, the book maps the various kinds of misinformation through several different disciplinary perspectives, taking into account the overlapping contexts of politics, technology, and journalism. The contributors consider topics including fake news as "disorganized" propaganda; folkloric falsehood in the "Pizzagate" conspiracy; native advertising as counterfeit news; the limitations of regulatory reform and technological solutionism; Reddit's enabling of fake news; the psychological mechanisms by which people make sense of information; and the evolution of fake news in America. A section on media hoaxes and satire features an oral history of and an interview with prankster-activists the Yes Men, famous for parodies that reveal hidden truths. Finally, contributors consider possible solutions to the complex problem of fake news--ways to mitigate its spread, to teach students to find factually accurate information, and to go beyond fact-checking. Contributors Mark Andrejevic, Benjamin Burroughs, Nicholas Bowman, Mark Brewin, Elizabeth Cohen, Colin Doty, Dan Faltesek, Johan Farkas, Cherian George, Tarleton Gillespie, Dawn R. Gilpin, Gina Giotta, Theodore Glasser, Amanda Ann Klein, Paul Levinson, Adrienne Massanari, Sophia A. McClennen, Kembrew McLeod, Panagiotis Takis Metaxas, Paul Mihailidis, Benjamin Peters, Whitney Phillips, Victor Pickard, Danielle Polage, Stephanie Ricker Schulte, Leslie-Jean Thornton, Anita Varma, Claire Wardle, Melissa Zimdars, Sheng Zou
Publication Date: 2020-01-01
Navigating Fake News, Alternative Facts, and Misinformation in a Post-Truth World by In the current day and age, objective facts have less influence on opinions and decisions than personal emotions and beliefs. Many individuals rely on their social networks to gather information thanks to social media's ability to share information rapidly and over a much greater geographic range. However, this creates an overall false balance as people tend to seek out information that is compatible with their existing views and values. They deliberately seek out "facts" and data that specifically support their conclusions and classify any information that contradicts their beliefs as "false news." Navigating Fake News, Alternative Facts, and Misinformation in a Post-Truth World is a collection of innovative research on human and automated methods to deter the spread of misinformation online, such as legal or policy changes, information literacy workshops, and algorithms that can detect fake news dissemination patterns in social media. While highlighting topics including source credibility, share culture, and media literacy, this book is ideally designed for social media managers, technology and software developers, IT specialists, educators, columnists, writers, editors, journalists, broadcasters, newscasters, researchers, policymakers, and students.
Publication Date: 2020-02-28
Broadcast Hysteria by 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.
Publication Date: 2015-05-05
Bunk by 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.
Publication Date: 2017-11-14
Understanding the News
American Journalism and Fake News by 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." A part of ABC-CLIO's Examining the Facts series, which uses evidence-based documentation to examine the veracity of claims and beliefs about high-profile issues in American culture and politics, this volume examines beliefs, claims, and myths about American journalism and news media. It offers a comprehensive overview of the field of American journalism, including contemporary issues and historical foundations, and places modern problems such as "fake news" and misinformation in the context of larger technological and economic forces. The book illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of journalistic practices so readers can feel empowered to navigate the complex information environment in which we live and to understand the level to which various news sources can (or can't) be trusted to provide accurate and timely coverage of issues and events of import to the public and the nation. These skills and knowledge structures are necessary for any citizen who wishes to be an informed participant in a self-governing democratic society. 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
Publication Date: 2018-12-07
Partisan Journalism by In Partisan Journalism: A History of Media Bias in the United States, Jim A. Kuypers guides readers on a journey through American journalistic history, focusing on the warring notions of objectivity and partisanship. Kuypers shows how the American journalistic tradition grew from partisan roots and, with only a brief period of objectivity in between, has returned to those roots today. The book begins with an overview of newspapers during Colonial times, explaining how those papers openly operated in an expressly partisan way; he then moves through the Jacksonian era's expansion of both the press and its partisan nature. After detailing the role of the press during the War Between the States, Kuypers demonstrates that it was the telegraph, not professional sentiment, that kicked off the movement toward objective news reporting. The conflict between partisanship and professionalization/objectivity continued through the muckraking years and through World War II, with newspapers in the 1950s often being objective in their reporting even as their editorials leaned to the right. This changed rapidly in the 1960s when newspaper editorials shifted from right to left, and progressive advocacy began to slowly erode objective content. Kuypers follows this trend through the early 1980s, and then turns his attention to demonstrating how new communication technologies have changed the very nature of news writing and delivery. In the final chapters covering the Bush and Obama presidencies, he traces the growth of the progressive and partisan nature of the mainstream news, while at the same time explores the rapid rise of alternative news sources, some partisan, some objective, that are challenging the dominance of the mainstream press. This book steps beyond a simple charge-counter-charge of political bias in the news in that it offers an argument that the press in America, except for a brief period, was essentially partisan from its inception and has returned with a vengeance to its original roots. The final argument presented in the book is that this new development may actually be healthy for American Democracy.
Publication Date: 2014-01-01
What's News? by In a media landscape dominated by advocacy news networks pushing competing points of view, how can the average person uncover the truth about any particular issue? This book will show you how to separate the facts from the agenda-driven spin and selective presentation often used by such news sources as Fox and MSNBC. The author describes the goals of advocacy journalism--i.e., journalism that transparently advocates a biased worldview--and shows that it has been a part of our history since the 1700s. He assesses the role of talk radio, cable news networks, and the more recent phenomena of special-interest blogs, websites, and citizen journalists in creating the current media climate. While conceding that advocacy journalism is undoubtedly popular and has some positive aspects, the author also points out its many negative features. Perhaps the most important of these is its polarizing effect on society. Skewed will give readers the tools to critique the media, to see both sides of any issue, and to become better informed citizens and voters.
Publication Date: 2016-08-16
The Trouble with Reality by Every week on the public radio show On the Media, the award-winning journalist Brooke Gladstone analyzes the media and how it shapes our perceptions of the world. Now, from her front-row perch on the day's events, Gladstone brings her genius for making insightful, unexpected connections to help us understand what she calls--and what so many of us can acknowledge having--"trouble with reality." Reality, as she shows us, was never what we thought it was--there is always a bubble, people are always subjective and prey to stereotypes. And that makes reality actually more vulnerable than we ever thought. Enter Donald J. Trump and his team of advisors. For them, as she writes, lying is the point. The more blatant the lie, the easier it is to hijack reality and assert power over the truth. Drawing on writers as diverse as Hannah Arendt, Walter Lippmann, Philip K. Dick, and Jonathan Swift, she dissects this strategy, straight out of the authoritarian playbook, and shows how the Trump team mastered it, down to the five types of tweets that Trump uses to distort our notions of what's real and what's not. And she offers hope. There is meaningful action, a time-tested treatment for moral panic. And there is also the inevitable reckoning. History tells us we can count on it. Brief and bracing, The Trouble with Reality shows exactly why so many of us didn't see it coming, and how we can recover both our belief in reality--and our sanity.
Publication Date: 2017-05-16
Blur by Amid the hand-wringing over the death of "true journalism" in the Internet Age--the din of bloggers, the echo chamber of Twitter, the predominance of Wikipedia--veteran journalists and media critics Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel have written a pragmatic, serious-minded guide to navigating the twenty-first century media terrain. Yes, old authorities are being dismantled, new ones created, and the very nature of knowledge has changed. But seeking the truth remains the purpose of journalism--and the object for those who consume it. How do we discern what is reliable? How do we determine which facts (or whose opinions) to trust? Blur provides a road map, or more specifically, reveals the craft that has been used in newsrooms by the very best journalists for getting at the truth. In an age when the line between citizen and journalist is becoming increasingly unclear, Blur is a crucial guide for those who want to know what's true. Ways of Skeptical Knowing--Six Essential Tools for Interpreting theNews 1. What kind of content am I encountering? 2. Is the information complete? If not, what's missing? 3. Who or what are the sources and why should I believe them? 4. What evidence is presented and how was it tested or vetted? 5. What might bean alternative explanation or understanding? 6. Am I learning what I need?
Publication Date: 2010-11-09
How to identify a fake news story
Tools for News Consumers
The Truth Matters by Distinguish fake news from reliable journalism with this clear and concise handbook by New York Times best-selling author Bruce Bartlett. Today's media and political landscapes are littered with untrustworthy sources and the dangerous concept of "fake news." This accessible guide helps you fight this deeply troubling trend and ensure that truth is not a permanent casualty. Written by Capitol Hill veteran and author Bruce Bartlett, The Truth Matters presents actionable tips and tricks for reading critically, judging sources, using fact-checking sites, avoiding confirmation bias, identifying trustworthy experts, and more.
Publication Date: 2017-10-24
Finding Reliable Information Online by We live in an information-saturated environment and spend far too much time searching, surfing, skimming, contributing, and organizing the information in our lives. We spend too little time immersing ourselves in reliable high quality information. We are often so buried in information and strapped for time that we grab information like it was fast food, without bothering to evaluate its quality. Finding Reliable Information Online: Adventures of an Information Sleuth uses stories or "information adventures" to illustrate the best approaches to searching for information and to help us develop our aptitude for locating high quality resources in a rapidly changing digital environment that is becoming proficient at monopolizing our attention with useless or unreliable information. This book is about taking charge of the search process and not handing over the reins to search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo to dictate what information we consume. Each chapter focuses on a quest for different types of information while digging deeper into the complexities of finding credible places to look for information and ways to think about evaluating it. As the Internet evolves and becomes more sophisticated, our strategies for finding and evaluating information need to evolve as well. The stories in this book range from investigating challenging research questions to exploring health issues and everyday life questions like finding a reliable restaurant or product review. These chapters go beyond the simple and more mechanical checklist approach to evaluating information, though these factors are also discussed.
Publication Date: 2015-09-17
Everydata by While everyone is talking about "big data," the truth is that understanding the "little data" (stock reports, newspaper headlines, weather forecasts, etc.) is what will help you make smarter decisions at work, at home, and in every aspect of your life. The average person consumes approximately 30 gigabytes of data every single day, but has no idea how to interpret it correctly. Everydata explains, through the eyes of an expert economist and statistician, how to correctly interpret all of the small bytes of data we consume in a day. Readers will become effective, skeptical consumers of everyday data. - Everydata is filled with countless examples of people misinterpreting data - oftentimes with catastrophic results:- Millions of women avoid caffeine during pregnancy because they interpret correlation as causation - The initial launch of HealthCare.gov failed in part because key decision-makers couldn't observe all of the data - A baby food company was investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for cherry picking data - Attorneys faced a $1 billion jury verdict because of outlier data - The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded because the engineers were dealing with a limited sample set - Hedge fund companies claim they can make smarter predictions - but the market data says otherwise Each chapter of Everydata highlights one commonly misunderstood data concept, using both real-world and hypothetical examples from a wide range of topics, including business, politics, advertising, law, engineering, retail, parenting, and more. Readers will get the answer to the question--"Now what?"--along with concrete ways they can use this information to immediately start making smarter decisions, today and every day.
Publication Date: 2016-04-12
Media Literacy by Covering print, photography, film, radio, television, and new media, this textbook instructs readers on how to take a critical approach to media and interpret the information overload that is disseminated via mass communication. * Supplies clear explanation of media literacy theory and guidance on interpreting modern mass media from leading scholars * Represents a highly effective tool for achieving a key aspect of media literacy: enabling students to decipher information and independently reach opinions and positions without relying on the pervasive influence of the media * Provides critical examination of controversial, current topics such as violence in the media and the intersections of media and social change
Publication Date: 2014-01-01
Fake News, Propaganda, and Plain Old Lies by Are you overwhelmed at the amount, contradictions, and craziness of all the information coming at you in this age of social media and twenty-four-hour news cycles? Fake News, Propaganda, and Plain Old Lies will show you how to identify deceptive information as well as how to seek out the most trustworthy information in order to inform decision making in your personal, academic, professional, and civic lives. - Learn how to identify the alarm bells that signal untrustworthy information. - Understand how to tell when statistics can be trusted and when they are being used to deceive. - Inoculate yourself against the logical fallacies that can mislead even the brightest among us. Donald A. Barclay, a career librarian who has spent decades teaching university students to become information literate scholars and citizens, takes an objective, non-partisan approach to the complex and nuanced topic of sorting deceptive information from trustworthy information.
Publication Date: 2018-06-25
The News: a User's Manual by The news is everywhere. We can't stop constantly checking it on our computer screens, but what is this doing to our minds? We are never really taught how to make sense of the torrent of news we face every day, writes Alain de Botton (author of the best-selling The Architecture of Happiness), but this has a huge impact on our sense of what matters and of how we should lead our lives. In his dazzling new book, de Botton takes twenty-five archetypal news stories--including an airplane crash, a murder, a celebrity interview and a political scandal--and submits them to unusually intense analysis with a view to helping us navigate our news-soaked age. He raises such questions as Why are disaster stories often so uplifting? What makes the love lives of celebrities so interesting? Why do we enjoy watching politicians being brought down? Why are upheavals in far-off lands often so boring? In The News: A User's Manual, de Botton has written the ultimate guide for our frenzied era, certain to bring calm, understanding and a measure of sanity to our daily (perhaps even hourly) interactions with the news machine. (With black-and-white illustrations throughout.)
Publication Date: 2014-02-11