Fact over Fake: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Media Bias and Political Propaganda

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Authors: Linda Elder & Richard Paul

Pages: 108 • Trim: 5½ x 8
978-1-5381-4393-3 • Hardback • November 2020
978-1-5381-4394-0 • Paperback • November 2020
978-1-5381-4395-7 • eBook • November 2020

Today’s instantaneous and ever-present news stream frequently presents a sensationalized or otherwise distorted view of the world, demanding constant critical engagement on the part of everyday citizens.

The Critical Thinker’s Guide to Bias, Lies, and Politics in the News reveals the power of critical thinking to make sense of overwhelming and often subjective media by detecting ideology, slant, and spin at work. Building off the Richard Paul and Linda Elder framework for critical thinking, Elder focuses on the internal logic of the news as well as societal influences on the media while illustrating essential elements of trustworthy journalism. With up-to-date discussions of social media, digital journalism, and political maneuvering inside and outside the fourth estate, Fact or Fake is an essential handbook for those who want to stay informed but not influenced by our modern news reporting systems.


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Fact over Fake: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Media Bias and Political Propaganda

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Fact over Fake: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Media Bias and Political Propaganda


A timely revision to an essential volume for any critical thinker’s library, Fact Over Fake provides a concise, cogent, and insightful examination of the challenges and opportunities presented by the news media landscape of the early 21st century, as well as practical tools to help navigate that daunting terrain—even for those unfamiliar with, or unaccustomed to, thinking critically about how it affects their lives every day. An indispensable guide for all who aspire to think for themselves and for any conscientious citizen seeking to foster free, fairminded societies.
Ken Stringer, president, CommunityPlus

People turn to news to find the truth. However, popular news, as most of us think of it, is more about perspective-making than truth-telling. So, what to do? One great start is to study Dr. Elder's excellent Fact over Fake: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Media Bias and Political Propaganda. Elder upholds the idea of the liberal-minded person as a fair-minded, critical thinker while simultaneously lambasting liberal and conservative ideologues who ignore intellectual autonomy and courage in support of their respective dogmas. The book provides a road map to consume news through the lens of the Paulian critical thinking framework. This work is easy to read but challenging to digest because it challenges us to look in the mirror and examine our thinking. As an educator, I am appreciative that this book contains several “Think for Yourself” activities that are suitable for personal or group reflection. The next time you hear the phrase “Fake News,” think carefully about who is trying to hoodwink you, and why.
Daryl Watkins, associate professor of organizational leadership, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Fact over Fake is a well-researched, scholarly, academic, and thoughtful book that is helpful in this era of misinformation, fake news, echo chambers, and information bubbles. The authors pose probing questions and provide useful lists, charts, diagrams, and graphics that readers can use as a guide. They provide a list of useful activities and questions that readers can use in their analysis of news and information. The book is a valuable and meaningful addition to works dedicated to the topics of media bias and media literacy.
Larry Atkins, author, Skewed: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Media Bias

Paul and Elder, with their critical thinking perspective, cut into the issue of fake news, propaganda, social media dissemination and the need for professional journalism vs. social media advertisers looking for “clicks.” The latter category focuses on “click-bait” while the seriousness and integrity of professional journalists must be preserved. Their focus on the latest theories of consumer learning is also useful in that consumers are self-selecting news that fits their learned biases, rather than steering toward neutral sources without political bias. The fragmentation of the news market advances propaganda which is the antithesis of news. Only a critical thinking perspective on the part of news agencies and consumers can overcome the current situation, which is explained beautifully in this book.
Myna German, professor, Mass Communications, Visual and Performing Arts, Delaware State University

How do we become wiser consumers of the news and other information presented on the Internet, and why would this even be desirable? In the very timely book, Drs. Linda Elder and Richard Paul present a clear, comprehensive guide for those who are ready to better understand and more intelligently navigate the chaotic world of misinformation. The book begins with a review of important fundamentals, such as the concepts of news and objectivity, and discusses the powerful influences that lead to media’s distortion of events. Using examples from current news stories, the guide demonstrates how the Paulian tools for critical thinking can be applied to examine the often fragmented and biased messages we receive and to skillfully analyze and evaluate their content for ourselves. Ending with an Appendix of “Think for Yourself” exercises, this book can easily serve as a self-study companion, or a robust addition to a variety of high school and university courses.
Agnieszka Alboszta, American English Institute, University of Oregon

Eye-opening, practical and thorough, this revised Thinker’s Guide is required reading for today’s consumer of news and media who is striving to make meaning amid the daily fray of contradictory information and shallow judgments. The clear strategies and timely insights provided in this book will enable you—as part of your regular consumption of online, print, or broadcast news--to interrogate biases, identify alternative perspectives, evaluate information and internalize the habits of a critical thinker.
Patty Payette, senior associate director, Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Louisville