unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation, a new book described as “the secret decoder ring for the 21st-century world of disinformation,” will officially be released by Random House on April 24. Co-authored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the paperback lays bare the art of spinning – rampant in the world of politics, marketing, and news. Jackson, who directs APPC’s FactCheck.org website, and Jamieson, APPC’s director, teamed up with Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Signe Wilkinson of the Philadelphia Daily News to detail how spin has worked successfully in selling everything from war and taxes to emu oil and “tall” coffees.
The authors are particularly excited about a unique feature of unSpun, a companion website that allows them to update the book online. For example, after unSpun went to press, new data on the homeless population became available and is now posted on the site. Jamieson calls this feature “a pioneer use of the internet” that will enable researchers and authors to keep print publications current, as well as to provide supplemental data. unSpun’s source notes also are included on the website. Said Jackson: “What we’ve tried to do with this book is show how often we voters and consumers get spun without even knowing it, and why. We share with our readers some of the tools we use everyday at FactCheck.org to de-bunk the malarkey and find reliable information quickly using the internet.”
In advance of the book’s release, veteran journalist Bill Moyers wrote: “Read this book and you will not go unarmed into the political wars ahead of us. Jackson and Jamieson equip us to be our own truth squad, and that just might be the salvation of democracy.”