Skip to Main Content

Summer Reading 2017

Information to guide you in your 2017 Summer Reading

Why Choose This Book?

UnSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation,

by Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson (2007)

"Fake News", "Alternative Facts", and political "Spin", are not new concepts.    Using examples from News-Media,  Advertising, and Political Campaigns, and original cartoons by a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, UnSpun is a fast-paced guide to all of the ways disinformation is used to manipulate us.  Not only that, it offers insight from psychology and sociology as to why we fall prey to disinformation, AND gives the reader tools to combat it.

What to Know About the Book Before You Read It.

The authors are the Founders of, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Written in 2007, many of the political examples are from the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election, and the Iraq War. 

Despite being published ten years ago, the lessons and methods are just as useful for combatting "Fake News" and understanding Media Bias today.

  • Truthiness?: corporate advertising, political spin, the psychology of why we believe what we do, the psychololgy and strategy of persuasion
  • Technology!: Televised and online information services
  • Totalitarians?: Mostly discusses American politics and advertising


SEE BELOW for more background, relevance, etc.

More About the Book

The Election of 2004

Many examples in 'UnSpun' come from the 2004 presidential election where George W. Bush defeated John Kerry.

[This section is for links, content, about STUFF HAPPENING CURRENTLY  that ties in to things in the book]

Advertising is still trying to manipulate us...

"FAKE NEWS" is real...

Bias exists in media we consume...

Bias isn't necessarily wrong, unless you're unaware of it or it's hidden from you

...and in our Brains...

...and in the Technology that Connects Us to Information.

[this section is for stuff that lets someone who wants to read more or go deeper into aspects of the book]

Media and Information Literacy

Partisan Language Manipulation

Partisan Neuroscience

[for fun stuff about the book -- pop culture references, parodies, other cool things]

Things to Think About While You Read

  • Smartphones (the iPhone in particular) and visual social media (like Snapchat and Instagram) have become even more prominent since this book was written (2007).  How can you apply the strategies discussed in this book with new forms of media?
  • What are the differences between biased news,  "spin", and "fake news"?

Theme-based Guided Questions for all Books

Consider these questions as you are reading your book. Having answers to them, with quotations from the book (cite page number) as supporting evidence will be very helpful when it is time to discuss and assess your reading.

1. When was your book written? When does it take place? How does that compare to 2017?

2. Who holds power or authority in your book?  

  • What role does technology play in creating or maintaining that authority?  
  • What role does communication or language play in creating or maintaining that authority?

3. How does technology affect the daily lives of the people in your book?

  • What role does technology play in communication between people?
  • Who has access to technology?
  • How does the technology compare to today's technology?

4. What kinds of information or media does this book discuss? -- News? Advertising? Entertainment? Education? Propaganda? etc?

  • Who creates it, and for what purpose?
  • Who controls it, and for what purpose?
  • Who consumes it, and for what purpose?

Read More