This timely look at the rise and spread of fake news examines how the internet has changed the way news is reported and consumed and how social media is used to discredit people and policies, most often in the realm of politics.
Currie opens with an especially infamous fake-news example, “Pizzagate,” a widely disseminated and completely discredited rumor linking the Hillary Clinton campaign to a child-prostitution ring allegedly run out of a pizzeria, which incited a man to enter the restaurant and fire a rifle. Currie defines fake news as “deliberately false”; it “must be presented and designed to look like an actual news story…[and] must be distributed on the Internet in order to qualify.” The text distinguishes fake news from other types of misinformation, such as government propaganda, political rhetoric, and satire or parody sites such as the Onion. Importantly, Currie notes that fake news “is a modern development with clear parallels in history.” One historical example cited is Randolph Hearst’s use of his newspapers to sway public opinion in favor of war with Spain. In addition to providing historical context and citing numerous examples, Currie discusses practical steps information consumers can take to distinguish between fake and legitimate news, such as consulting fact-checking websites such as Snopes and PolitiFact. He notes the essential role of librarians in educating information consumers how to discern the legitimacy of what they see.
An informative, insightful, and helpful overview of a prominent and serious societal problem. (photos, source notes, further research, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)