Post-truth : how bullshit conquered the world / James Ball.

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: 2016 marked the dawn of the post-truth era. The year saw two shock election results, each of which has the potential to reshape the world: the UK's decision to leave the EU, and the elevation of Donald Trump to the office of US President. The campaigns highlighted many of the same issues in their home countries: social division, anger at the elite, anti-immigration sentiment and more - but, more than anything, they heralded an unprecedented rise of bullshit. Sophistry and spin have been part of politics since the dawn of time. But the modern era sees millions being fed false reports that Hillary Clinton ordered 30,000 guillotines to use on her opponents following her victory, while Trump claims he 'never said that' about speeches recorded on video, and the Leave campaign's divisive claims about GBP350 million extra funding for the NHS and 'swarms' of new EU immigrants from Turkey prove pivotal in a referendum. Post-truth is bigger than fake news and bigger than social media. It's about the slow rise of a political, media and online infrastructure that has devalued truth. Bullshit gets you noticed. Bullshit makes you rich. Bullshit can even pave your way to the Oval Office. This is the story of bullshit: what's being spread, who's spreading it, why it works - and what we can do to tackle it." -- Provided by publisher.
    • Content Notes:
      Part 1. The power of bullshit. Trumped : how the Donald won America -- Brexit : taking back control -- Part 2. Who's spreading the shit? Politicians -- Old media -- New media -- Fake media -- Social media... -- ...And you -- Part 3. Why bullshit works. Why we fall for it -- Why it's profitable -- A bullshit culture -- Part 4. How to stop bullshit. Debunking the debunkers -- Stopping the spread.
    • Notes:
      Includes bibliographical references.
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LJ Reviews 2018 January #1

In this provocative study, journalist Ball offers an explanation of the current political morass—both in the United States and Great Britain. For Ball, the culprit is pervasive "bullshit." The author has chosen this earthy term as a "catch-all word to cover misrepresentation, half-truths, and outrageous lies alike." Ball blames politicians (of course) for the spread of misinformation, but also social media and even the mainstream media. The latter receives harsh reviews for its inability to counter effectively rampant lying by public officials and dubious websites. Ball delves into the presidential campaign of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote in Britain as examples of the success of bullshit but also looks at broader cultural issues (such as "our casual attitude to truth" and the economics of online news publishing). The book is filled with stories of fake news and the public's gullibility to demonstrate exactly how bullshit works. While admitting that there is no easy solution to this trend, Ball ends with a list of practical suggestions that might help. VERDICT This work will appeal to anyone interested in current politics and the misuse of information. [See "Editors' Fall Picks," LJ 9/1/17, p. 34].—Thomas Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, PA

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.