Bullspotting: Finding Facts in the Age of Misinformation

Loren Collins. Prometheus, $19 trade paper (276p) ISBN 978-1-61614-634-4
The Internet has become a conduit for conspiracy theories and a Pandora’s box of hoaxes, outrageous tales, and fake news items. Atlanta attorney Collins casts an analytical eye over a wide spectrum of subjects, from alien astrology and Atlantis to the Flat Earth Society, Holocaust denials, and the 9/11 attacks. “Always be skeptical of information lacking in significant details,” warns Collins. Fanciful suppositions can be generated by simple errors or because someone believes a satire from the Onion to be legitimate news. The longest chapter is devoted to pseudoscience because it is, Collins says, “incredibly varied, potentially complex, and more sophisticated than your average Internet conspiracy theory.” Collins tracks the origins of bogus beliefs across Facebook and Twitter: Martin Luther King never said, “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.” These were the words of a young English teacher leading in to a King quote, but twisted tweets by others went viral. With similar in-depth probes into birther theories, the risks of alternative medicine, vaccine denialists, historical revisionism, and armchair lawyers, this is a valuable aid to detecting false information amid rumors running wild. Agent: Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/02/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
Ebook - 139 pages - 978-1-61614-635-1
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