Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It

Richard Stengel. Grove Atlantic, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-8021-4798-1
In this somewhat choppy memoir, Stengel, the former editor of Time, recounts his three years as a political appointee in President Obama’s State Department focusing on the weaponization of information. He describes the department’s sometimes but not always successful responses to ISIS’s videos of journalist beheadings, Boko Haram’s mass kidnapping of girls in Nigeria, and the growth of Russian disinformation through state-led infotainment networks such as RT. He also chronicles the department’s efforts to track anti-American disinformation across social media platforms—and social media platforms’ slow responses—and eventually creating the Global Engagement Center to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation efforts. A running thread is Stengel’s unfavorable comparisons of the State Department, where he was frequently stymied by slow-moving bureaucracy, to his previous life in the private sector, despite the snafus he regularly created at the State Department when he acted on his impulses. The final, strongest section of the book introduces ways to reduce the impact of disinformation and propaganda, including real-time disclosure of who’s paying for political ads and more transparent sourcing in news reporting. Readers interested in how disinformation fits into today’s foreign affairs landscape will want to give this a look. Agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 06/28/2019
Release date: 10/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-0-8021-4799-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-68457-661-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-6651-1941-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-6651-1940-5
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-8021-4942-8
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