cover image True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News

True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News

Cindy L. Otis. Feiwel and Friends, $19.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-23949-5

In an age when many are “basically standing under a showerhead of information all day, every day,” former intelligence analyst Otis provides timely guidance on how to separate fact from fake news. The book’s first section provides context and breadth, reaching back to the reign of Ramses II and the story of Jack the Ripper to underscore the historical use of propaganda and disinformation. But the second half of the book offers the greatest benefit, detailing how digital media has exponentially aided in the promulgation of false narratives and destructive rumors. The author shares many practical tips she learned during the decade she spent working for the CIA—ways to discern a doctored photo, identify clickbait and trusted sources, and double-check outrageous claims. Perhaps most importantly, she cautions readers to check their own biases and think critically rather than outsourcing judgment to their social media feeds. Written in an easy, conversational style matched by a user-friendly design with pullouts, exercises, and photographs, it’s a book that teachers and civic leaders will want to make required reading. Ages 13–up. (July)