Manipulating the Message
How Powerful Forces Shape the News
by Cecil Rosner
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Pub Date 28 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 30 Nov 2023
Journalists hate the term fake news, but there’s a troubling reality: spin doctors routinely try to dupe them into reporting misleading and distorted stories.
Check the news on any given day and here’s what you’ll find: Governments routinely lie. Companies inflate claims about their products and practices. Institutions release studies with misleading data meant to deceive. Police departments, infected by systemic racism, downplay crimes against Indigenous and racialized people.
The public depends on the media to help them understand the world, but are journalists catching all the daily lies, omissions, and distortions? Shrinking newsrooms and an army of spin doctors mean journalists can get duped. Despite valiant efforts by a handful of investigative journalists, the truth is routinely left behind.
Award-winning journalist Cecil Rosner insists there is something we can do about this. We can pressure news organizations to stop blindly regurgitating the firehose of press releases and focus instead on determining what is actually true. Rosner empowers readers by sharing his techniques for detecting misinformation and disinformation.
"This is a brilliant book, written by one of Canada’s best investigative journalists and coming at a time of profound crisis in 21st century journalism. More than ever, Canadians are being exposed to disinformation. With impressive detail, Cecil Rosner helps us understand the scale of the challenge, and he outlines how we can grab back control." — TONY BURMAN, former head of CBC News and Al Jazeera English
"[Rosner] takes an unflinching look at how racial bias and gendered glass ceilings entangle newsroom decision-making. A must-read for anyone who follows the news. For journalists, a valuable wayfinder for getting out from under the influence." — PATRICIA W. ELLIOTT, Professor of Investigative and Community Journalism, First Nations University of Canada