True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society [NOOK Book]

Overview

Picture yourself at a college football championship game. Cheering fans of both teams clog the stands. The play is rough, and the crowd is fed up. Supporters of each side insist that their own guys are playing fair but the other team is clearly breaking the rules. How can both sides be right? According to the surprising insights of True Enough, they are: when sports fans claim to see only the opposing team playing dirty, that really is what they "see." It is a classic example of how our deeply held beliefs can ...

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True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society

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Overview

Picture yourself at a college football championship game. Cheering fans of both teams clog the stands. The play is rough, and the crowd is fed up. Supporters of each side insist that their own guys are playing fair but the other team is clearly breaking the rules. How can both sides be right? According to the surprising insights of True Enough, they are: when sports fans claim to see only the opposing team playing dirty, that really is what they "see." It is a classic example of how our deeply held beliefs can supplant our very perceptions of what's "real" and what's not in the world around us. And as Farhad Manjoo explains, the phenomenon holds sway in areas far removed from football.

In True Enough, Manjoo presents findings from psychology, sociology, political science, and economics to show how new technologies are prompting the cultural ascendancy of belief over fact. In an age of talk radio, cable TV, and the Internet the blog- and YouTube-addled million-channel media universe it is no longer necessary for any of us to confront notions that contradict what we "know" to be true. Stephen Colbert calls this "truthiness"?when something feels true without any evidence that it is. Here Manjoo probes the cognitive basis of truthiness, exploring how biases push both liberals and conservatives to select and interpret news in a way that accords with their personal versions of "reality."

Why has punditry lately overtaken news, with so many media outlets pushing partisan agendas instead of information? Why do lies seem to linger so long in the cultural subconscious even after they've been thoroughly discredited? And why, when more people than ever before are documenting the truth with laptops and digital cameras, does fact-free spin and propagandaseem to work so well? True Enough explores leading controversies of national politics, foreign affairs, science, and business, explaining how Americans have begun to organize themselves into echo chambers that harbor diametrically different facts not merely opinions from those of the larger culture. We meet people who espouse far-out interpretations of reality about everything from the history of John Kerry's time in Vietnam to the integrity of the 2004 election to the truth about 9/11?and dig into the mechanism by which they came to hold those beliefs.

Controversial, at times disturbing, and always fascinating, True Enough will prompt you to think twice about how you too came to believe all that you do. Are your own truths really true or merely true enough?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In 2005, Stephen Colbert catapulted the word "truthiness"-the quality of an idea "feeling" true without any backup evidence-into the public consciousness. Salon blogger Manjoo expands upon this concept in his perceptive analysis of the status of truth in the digital age, critiquing a Rashomon-like world in which competing versions of truth vie for our attention. Driven by research and study, the book relies on abstract psychological and sociological concepts, such as "selective exposure" and "peripheral processing," though these are fleshed out with examples from American history, politics and media. For example, Manjoo demonstrates how the Swift Boat Veterans' negative campaign derailed John Kerry's 2004 presidential run. He also points out that the sheer quantity of 9/11 imagery has engendered more conspiracy theories, not fewer-demonstrating, he says, the disjunction between truth and proof. Manjoo rounds out his analysis by examining the workings of "partisan news realities," and he points out that the first casualty in these truth wars is a basic human and civic need: trust. Though several of the author's ideas are repetitiously threaded through his narrative, Manjoo has produced an engaging, illustrative look at the dangers of living in an oversaturated media world. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007Reed Business Information
From the Publisher
* In 2005, Stephen Colbert catapulted the word “truthiness”—the quality of an idea “feeling” true without any backup evidence—into the public consciousness. Salon blogger Manjoo expands upon this concept in his perceptive analysis of the status of truth in the digital age, critiquing a Rashomon-like world in which competing versions of truth vie for our attention. Driven by research and study, the book relies on abstract psychological and sociological concepts, such as “selective exposure” and “peripheral processing,” though these are fleshed out with examples from American history, politics and media. For example, Manjoo demonstrates how the Swift Boat Veterans' negative campaign derailed John Kerry's 2004 presidential run. He also points out that the sheer quantity of 9/11 imagery has engendered more conspiracy theories, not fewer—demonstrating, he says, the disjunction between truth and proof. Manjoo rounds out his analysis by examining the workings of “partisan news realities,” and he points out that the first casualty in these truth wars is a basic human and civic need: trust. Though several of the author's ideas are repetitiously threaded through his narrative, Manjoo has produced an engaging, illustrative look at the dangers of living in an oversaturated media world. (Mar.) (Publishers Weekly, January 28, 2008)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118039014
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 2/17/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 514,089
  • File size: 269 KB

Meet the Author

Farhad Manjoo manages Machinist, a daily technology news blog at Salon.com, where he also writes frequently on journalism, politics, and new media.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Facts No Longer Matter.

1. "Reality" Is Splitting.

2. The New Tribalism: Swift Boats and the Power of Choosing.

3. Trusting Your Senses: Selective Perception and 9/11.

4. Questionable Expertise: The Stolen Election and the Men Who Push It.

5. The Twilight of Objectivity, or What's the Matter with Lou Dobbs?

6. "Truthiness" Everywhere.

Epilogue: Living In a World without Trust.

Acknowledgments.

Notes.

Index.

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