- True or False: A CIA Analyst's Guide to Spotting Fake News by Cindy L. Otis
Otis, Cindy L. True or False: A CIA Analyst's Guide to Spotting Fake News. Feiwel, 2020 [336p] Trade ed. ISBN 9781250239495 $19.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9781250239501 $9.99 Reviewed from digital galleys R Gr. 5-9
Otis, whose career with the CIA has involved researching, confirming, or debunking intelligence reports from national and global sources, walks readers through attempts to manipulate, falsify, and control public information that stretches from Pharaoh Ramses II's slanted battle tales up to our own suspect news cycles. Most of the mini lessons herein gain their impact from Otis' engaging storytelling, with historical episodes illustrating the various ways truth has been altered for public consumption followed by observations on how technological innovations steadily speed up the dissemination of fake news, and once discussion arrives at the Internet Age, tips and checklists and self quizzes that encourage readers to hone their own skills at unmasking humbugs. While many readers will be content to browse through tales as bizarre as the rumored Eleanor Clubs that purportedly encouraged Black domestic workers to abandon their jobs with Southern White employers, and as dastardly as Big Tobacco's cabal to addict a nation to carcinogens, others may [End Page 491] take to heart Otis' admonishment that reining in fake news is the responsibility of all social media users, and that even repostings meant in jest and laden with disclaimers are fodder for the gullible. Citations are included for information as well as quotations.