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Publisher's Summary

"Fake news" is a term you’ve probably heard a lot in the last few years, but it’s not a new phenomenon. From the ancient Egyptians to the French Revolution to Jack the Ripper and the Founding Fathers, fake news has been around as long as human civilization. But that doesn’t mean that we should just give up on the idea of finding the truth. 

In True or False, former CIA analyst Cindy Otis takes listeners through the history and impact of misinformation over the centuries, sharing stories from the past and insights that listeners today can gain from them. Then, she shares lessons learned in more than a decade working for the CIA, including actionable tips on how to spot fake news, how to make sense of the information we receive each day, and, perhaps most importantly, how to understand and see past our own information biases so that we can think critically about important issues and put events happening around us into context.

©2020 Cindy L. Otis (P)2020 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What listeners say about True or False

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Good Introduction

I enjoyed this book. I also thank the author for providing resources readers can use. I think this book serves as an introduction into the world of disinformation. I would like to read more from the author on maybe in-depth techniques and more real life examples. Very good book nonetheless

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Disappointed

I would say that this book was written for an audience with almost no knowledge of the history of propaganda and fake news. I found it to be written at a similar level as USA Today, and therefore not helpful unless you have almost no common sense. Further, the idea that social media is something that we need to learn to just live with is as false as claiming that Morse Code is something will just need to continue to live with. The worm turns...

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Many Oysters with Few Pearls

It was fascinating to access some fake news that Otis has curated for us to serve as her case studies and how far-reaching the horrific results have been - even including an actual modern day chat-app fueled witch hunt (and subsequent death by fire) of two innocent Mexican nationals. Some examples were more absurd and even playful or silly.
History teachers will find this book safe to teach from as Otis has admirably avoided discussing the outright politically one-sided nature of fake news itself. Her shortest chapter is dedicated to the 2016 election.
For those of us who ARE already politically astute, we can see that she is meticulously dismantling everything a Fox News addict has come to believe without ever invoking the news agency by name. She goes after their sources (Gateway Pundit, Infowars, etc.) She goes after their panic-inducing style ("Breaking News", "News Alert") and even their red meat content (manipulation of statistics, polls etc.)
All of that being said, I was expecting a higher truth to be unveiled at some point. I was anticipating a "gotcha" moment that never came or at least a better explanation of the psychology of wilful liars in the media. What do they gain? What motivates them to exaggerate and lie? Why are Republicans more susceptible to believe lies than Democrats? How can our President be gaining more public confidence with every lie he tells us? And utmost importantly for this author, why is the CIA not doing a damn thing about it? Dismally, these questions are still unanswered.