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Don't Believe It!: How Lies Become News

Overview

Do you think shamed journalists Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass were rare bad apples? Far from it, they were just the ones stupid enough to get caught. Alexandra Kitty demonstrates with example upon example how manufactured news is endemic in our media and shows the reader how to spot suspicious stories.

In the last few years, the journalism industry has cut costs by eliminating important safeguards: companies have reduced the number of fact-checkers, editors, and journalists. ...

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Don't Believe It!: How Lies Becomes News

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Overview

Do you think shamed journalists Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass were rare bad apples? Far from it, they were just the ones stupid enough to get caught. Alexandra Kitty demonstrates with example upon example how manufactured news is endemic in our media and shows the reader how to spot suspicious stories.

In the last few years, the journalism industry has cut costs by eliminating important safeguards: companies have reduced the number of fact-checkers, editors, and journalists. What this means is that editors and reporters cannot spend time verifying information. Moreover, journalists are not required to have professional experience or training to cover their beats. Fierce competition to get a scoop may lead to journalists making careless errors or not double-checking information.

To maintain audiences and readership, journalists, editors and producers will choose sensational stories that "shock." Combined with time and budget constraints, journalists may unwittingly or deliberately disseminate false or misleading information to the public. It is important to "get" a story, interview a subject or nab a scoop first--the accuracy of these elements is secondary. Competition from other media outlets also means the goal of a journalist is to get the scoop first--how it makes it on the air (flawed, inaccurate, questionably obtained) is unimportant.

Don't Believe It! teaches news consumers how to verify information. It shows readers how to evaluate sources, eyewitnesses and data. This is a comprehensive bible to information verification from a logical standpoint, showing how to be skeptical without being jaded, step by step, with case studies and a classification manual.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932857061
  • Publisher: Disinformation Company, The
  • Publication date: 3/15/2004
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Alexandra Kitty is a journalist who specializes in crime and media issues. She has a BA in psychology from McMaster University and a MA in journalism from the University of Western Ontario. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario.
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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 9
2 Definitions 20
3 How news is created 37
4 Media realities 44
5 Breakdowns 50
6 Rumors and common knowledge 65
7 The competitor's myth 83
8 The winner 94
9 Fear, stereotypes and myths 123
10 War propaganda 140
11 The mistake 157
12 Reporter as victim 181
13 Reporter as hero 217
14 Reporter as villain 224
15 Academic and scientific hoaxes in the new 258
16 Sources and investigation 279
17 Logic versus emotion 290
18 Deconstructing news stories 306
19 Misdirection 317
20 Eyewitness testimony and testimonials 325
21 Forensic and other evidence 337
22 Getting all sides 348
23 Being a savvy news consumer 363
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