It's Not News, It's Fark
Gotham, 2007 (2007)
Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton
rew Curtis has a very good point. Much of media news is manufactured, often bringing distractions and advertisements to viewers rather than anything significant. However, since the proliferation of mass media almost beyond the processing capacity of its citizenry, hundreds of hours of television and numerous books-worth of words are wasted every week in an attempt to appear fresh, to keep people returning time and again - even if there isn't any news to report. Curtis is the owner of the website
, that sniffs out fake news or
. He is diligent in depicting the classic archetypes of fake news.
hether it is media fear mongering, repetitive seasonal articles, or advertisements presented as articles, Curtis breaks down where and when people come across them, why the media consistently delivers them, and why they don't have any business being in the
. Along the way, he injects colorful and amusing commentary about newscasters and the stories he is picking apart. He includes comments from his site visitors, which range from the amusing to the disturbingly hilarious. His criticism speaks to the heart of frustration among people who have gravitated more towards the Daily Show and Colbert Report than the major news stations which - especially in recent years - have lost the public's trust. More than anything, Curtis's book will turn readers into cynics trying to spot the discrepancy in any story.
owever, Curtis's reporting is not without faults. While he discusses numerous reports, he rarely specifically cites them. If readers want to know more - in a growing skepticism partially honed by Curtis - the information is sometimes too sparse to find the actual source. Curtis also seems to be pulling his own sleight of hand. While he berates news media for constantly usurping their news as a means of advertising, he does something similar. The self-referential name of his book and the manner in which he constantly mentions the website work in the same vein as some of the news articles he attacks. To belabor the point, the user comments encourage readers to visit the site. His quest to clean up the news is contradicted by a book that serves to promote his own agenda (i.e. more traffic to his site).
t's Not News, It's Fark
does provide readers with detailed insight into various practices of the news media. While the book is not as critical as those by authors such as Michael Parenti, there's more humor to it, and it will certainly widen readers' understanding of news media.
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