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unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of…

unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation

by Brooks Jackson, Kathleen Hall Jamieson

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Excellent. This is what "fair and balanced" really means. At least two examples for nearly every trap (elephants and donkeys). ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
Excellent tool for sorting disinformation from truth in the modern world ( )
  kellymaliawilliams | Apr 8, 2012 |
The anecdotes and examples are fascinating but the hidden message of this book is that Americans, by and large, have stopped thinking. We've come to accept anything that comes out of the TV, internet and news media in all it's forms as the truth largely because we can't be bothered to take the time to think and search for the facts behind the spin, half-truths and out 'n' out lies. If nothing else, this books points out the need for a return to common sense and healthy skepticism without cynicism. ( )
  jwcooper3 | Nov 15, 2009 |
unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation (2007) by Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson is a short guide to finding the facts when confronted by "mixed messages, half-truths, misleading statements, and out-and-out fabrications masquerading as facts" in advertising and politics. A lot of their advice initially seems obvious ("No duh we should verify our sources"), but upon further reflection it's very easy to be taken in. I'm reminded of a bar I went to with some friends that served their own special beer on draft for a low price. We were impressed that we were getting such a good deal on a tasty home-brew. My friend later discovered that bar was actually selling Pabst's Blue Ribbon under another name. I don't know if thinking it was a home-brew somehow made PBR taste better, or if PBR's reputation as a cheap commercial beer makes it taste worse?

The scariest thing about disinformation is how it plays upon our natural human tendency for self-deception. Politically speaking I'm pretty sure I'm guilty of accepting "facts" that support my political belief without evaluating them although I would really wish that I didn't. In addition to tips on how to evaluate and test information for factual accuracy, the authors provide a number of internet sites that are useful in finding the facts. FactCheck.org is of course an obvious start since that's the organization behind this book. Snopes.com is a personal favorite of mine for debunking internet hoaxes and rumors.

Other resources include:

This is a good little book to check out if you want to learn how to avoid deception. ( )
  Othemts | Feb 2, 2009 |
If nothing else, this is a fairly entertaining read with lots of case studies and examples of the way in which political rhetoric, polling information, and commercials twist facts and try to manipulate their audiences.

The troubling part about the book is that the "tips and tricks" mentioned throughout are things that SHOULD be tipped off by simple common sense -- but they're not.

There's nothing in here that a student or enthusiast of psychology, politics, advertising, or English wouldn't already know, but for the rest of us, it's a straightforward, easy-to-read, and fun (if somewhat pedantic) guide to B.S. detection, and it's worth a few hours of your time to fly through and become better informed.
  dczapka | Mar 19, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brooks Jacksonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jamieson, Kathleen Hallmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Americans are bombarded daily with mixed messages, half truths, misleading statements, and out and out fabrications masquerading as facts. The news media, once the vaunted watchdogs of our republic, are often too timid or distracted to identify these deceptions. This book is the secret decoder ring for the twenty-first-century world of disinformation. Written by the founders of the website FactCheck.org, it reveals the secrets of separating facts from disinformation, such as: the warning signs of spin, hype, and bogus news; common tricks used to deceive us; how to find trustworthy and objective sources of information. Telling fact from fiction should not be a difficult task. This book helps readers cut through the haze of biased media reportage to be a savvier consumer and a better-informed citizen. A practical guide to identifying bunk from fact twisting political ads and dubious infomercials to corporate PR and false e-mails; it explains how and where to pick out the truth from the masses of misleading messages and fake resources.… (more)

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