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Don't believe it! : how lies become news by…
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Don't believe it! : how lies become news (2005)

by Alexandra Kitty

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Largely common sense, which isn't common, this is a manual on how to be critical about news stories and how to examine them for truth, or if a company or person or who or whatever is trying to hoax, fake or PR their way through the news. Very informative, a bit Amerocentric but I'm pretty sure fairly universally applicable. ( )
  wyvernfriend | May 16, 2011 |
I will admit that I am not a fan of most of what this publishing company puts out. Much of their information is distorted, put in a more ominous context than in actuality, or just plain wrong. So I was a bit reluctant to pick up this book. To my surprise it is a well written guide to thinking critically and evaluating the news. Kitty takes many false news events and hoaxes and shows the suspect information in them, and how to sort the wheat from the chaff. There is no particular political ideology and no blind "don't trust these people" statements. If you are like me you will undoubtably be a bit put off by the publisher, but it's well worth reading. (Just don't tell them that if one reads this and then evaluates the publisher's other works you will undoubtably note discrepancies...)
  sister_ray | Feb 27, 2009 |
This book looks at how, and why, so many scams, hoaxes and other falsehoods seem to make it into the news.

If there is such a thing as The Reason for such a state of affairs, it is that, in general, journalists don’t bother to check a story’s accuracy. In this 24-hour-news world, there is little, or no, time to be thorough. It is better to be first than right. If a story has been covered by some other media outlet, it must automatically be legitimate. Also, an increasing number of scam artists have learned to package their scams in a media-friendly way.

All of us have seen such stories in the news. Some people claim to have found disgusting things in their food, like needles in soda cans, or fingers in chili. During Gulf War I, there was the widely reported accusation that Iraqi soldiers burst into Kuwaiti maternity wards, took the babies out of incubators, left them to die on the floor, and took the incubators. A popular story is the one about a crime victim, or someone, especially a child, fighting some major disease. Whether or not the poor individual actually exists tends to be forgotten. What if the reporter is the one who says they are sick, but then it turns out to be a lie. How many of these stories turn out to be true?

Included are a list of questions that the media consumer can ask to help weed out the hoaxes. How well is the story sourced? Is the story over hyped? Is the rumor inflammatory or slanderous? Does this interview subject have something to gain by lying? Was a “friend of a friend” the origin of the rumor? Does the story rely on unnamed sources? In war zones, does one of the warring sides seem to have media training or have hired a public relations firm?

This book belongs in every home in America. It does a fine job of showing just how easily scams and hoaxes can become news, and helping the consumer to distinguish them from legitimate news. The writing is first-rate and it is really easy to read. ( )
3 vote plappen | Jul 29, 2007 |
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Alexandra Kittyprimary authorall editionscalculated
El Khoti, HediDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"In Don't Believe it, accomplished journalist and academic Alexandra Kitty takes you on a guided tour of one hundred years of media hoaxes, propaganda and misinformation and shows you how to take apart a news story from the inside out to find the falsehoods lurking within."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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