Media manipulator spills the beans

Charmaine Chan: e- and audiobook reviews for August 19 Trust Me, I'm Lying

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 August, 2012, 10:56pm

Trust Me, I'm Lying

by Ryan Holiday

Gildan Media



This book should be of interest to anyone who reports the news, reads the news or makes the news. The "confessions of a media manipulator", it exposes how journalism has been blighted by the internet and bloggers because fiction these days passes for reality. Sources are not checked, Ryan Holiday points out, purported facts are not verified and mistakes (intentional or not) are reproduced repeatedly. He should know. He has been behind false reporting, created false scoops and written fake memos to create traffic that aids campaigns, which can be lucrative. Narrating his book, Holiday sounds as young as he is (25 years old) but, worryingly, authoritative as he shows how to play the media and, later, why it's wrong. Blogs, he stresses, are built with an exit in mind: AOL bought the Huffington Post for US$315 million in cash and Weblogs, Inc for US$25 million. That's why "exclusives" and marquee bloggers are important. How bloggers are paid by companies (often per view) is part of the problem because it encourages speed over accuracy. No doubt Holiday has used his know-how to promote this book. That is no bad thing because Trust Me, I'm Lying is worth its price.