Debunk It!: Fake News Edition: How to Stay Sane in a World of Misinformation

Sept. 2019. 304p. bibliog. index. Tr $37.32. ISBN 9781541578562; pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781942186595.
Gr 9 Up–Written in a humorous, conversational tone, this revised and updated edition of what the author describes as the “Young Person’s Guide to [B.S.]” attempts to explain how and why misinformation spreads in our society. Grant, who has written many books about the manipulation of scientific information, covers anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, and other conspiracy theorists, using scientific facts to disprove these groups’ ideas. He also defines key terms like tribalism, quote mining, and cherry-picking while remaining politically neutral. If anyone questions the necessity of this book, consider that according to some studies “between 6 percent and an astonishing 20 percent of the US public” believes that NASA faked the 1969-72 moon landings or that “12 percent [of American adults] think Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.” Although Grant’s endorsement of Wikipedia as a helpful place to check a news source’s legitimacy might shock some readers, he discourages folks from trusting the accuracy of specific articles on the site. Educators will appreciate his emphasis on using the scientific method to detect false information. This updated edition includes a new chapter on fake news as well as a handy list of fact-checking websites, a lengthy bibliography, and an exhaustive index.
VERDICT Adults as well as teens will gain perspective on the barrage of dubious Internet posts that we attempt to sift through every day. Highly recommended for school libraries that discuss fake news with students and anyone interested in the topic.

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