PDF Its Not News, Its Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap As News

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I guess he could have mentioned that 82 percent of all statistics are completely made up, but I guess 67 percent of his readers already know that. One of my favorite chapters was "Equal Time for Nutjobs". I agree that the media gives them far too much airtime in the interest of seeming unbiased and attracting readers with sensationalism.

Toward the end of the chapter, he openly invites the media to "stop making the 'where do we draw the line? Just make a judgment call already. To say this book is an all-out media bitch-fest is an understatement. It's full of clever criticisms, and I agree with them. I'm only giving the book three stars because he doesn't cover anything aside from Fark-centric stuff that you wouldn't hear in a college journalism class. Having participated in many discussions covering similar topics, I don't feel the book did much but reaffirm my hatred of journalism.

It's okay though, because the book even has a section on the media's is self-loathing.


  1. Drew Curtis;
  2. Socialite ... or Nurse in a Million (Harlequin Medical 486, 486).
  3. Music as Intangible Cultural Heritage: Policy, Ideology, and Practice in the Preservation of East Asian Traditions!

As it should. We have too much space, too much "media", and not enough actual news. And yes, the journalism profession has become defined by laziness. This started happening before my lifetime, but I'm sure it wasn't always the case. The internet really brought things to a head, making it worse than ever. Toward the end of the book, Drew spends a few pages discussing how online advertising changed everything, and I would have liked to have seen more depth on that since it's less obvious than the rest of the book.

To that end, Drew is not so different from the journalists he denounces. He's telling us stuff we already know and illustrating his points with summarized articles from an outside source and copypasta'ed quotes from Farkers. As the site got popular, someone probably told him there was money to be made if he authored a book. He may not have admitted that directly in our conversation a few years ago, but I like that he didn't claim to break any ground either. I don't really care" seemed to be his marketing message. It was a refreshing indifference for a book author, but a common sentiment among writers expected to churn out dozens of articles per week.

I appreciate that he thanks Delta Airlines in the Acknowledgments section for delaying all of his flights so he would have time to write this book. I can say from experience Delta is to air travel what the National Enquirer is to journalism. He's truly an everyman after my own heart. This book is neither full of win, nor full of fail. Aug 21, Tony rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction , reviewed , The rest of the book, however, gets barely a single star. The examples of each type of story often aren't particularly interesting or enlightening and the author can't seem to decide whether they should be funny or not , and the inclusion of seemingly random comments from Fark users about each story is so far beyond needless than even quickly skipping over them all without reading them still made me feel more stupid by association.

Feb 27, Lindsay rated it liked it. I really liked this in the beginning, but then I began to lose interest. Boo hoo, Kentucky! View all 3 comments. May 14, Ashley rated it did not like it. Funny, but about pages too long. Jun 17, Chris rated it liked it Shelves: current-events , culture , society. You all know FARK. You've never heard of it? I'm honestly and truly shocked - unless, of course, you've been away from the internet for the last ten years, in which case you may be forgiven.

FARK is a news aggregator website, though it differs from others in that it's entirely moderated. People submit stories that they think are interesting, add what they hope is a funny tag line or title, and see if it'll be green-lit to make the front page. Over the years, as FARK's audience has grown to make it one of the most influential websites out there, FARK has become a kind of go-to site for news and commentary, though probably not the erudite, level-headed commentary we all might want.

Whether site creator Drew Curtis intended it or not, FARK has become a de facto source of news for many people on the internet who are looking not so much for the top stories of the day, but for all the strange, cool, heroic and Florida-centered news that CNN claims to have too much dignity to run. Over its decade-long history, Curtis has seen thousands upon thousands of articles, moderated countless threads about the day's news and, therefore, believes he has a pretty good idea of how the mass media works. In this book, Curtis uses his experience as a professional newshound to look at the trends in mass media, attempting to identify the reasons why there's so much irrelevant crap out there.

We all know what he's talking about - the helicopter shots of motorcades, the Missing White Women, the shark attacks, internet predators and the top ten lists of household products that could kill you and your family. We've all seen this and asked, "Why are they bothering with this crap? There is only so much Real News in any given day, Curtis believes, and I agree with him.

The question, of course, is "What is 'real news,'" and rather than try to determine what real news is, Curtis decides to explain what real news isn't. As for the rest, we'll know it when we see it. Of the many ways that the mass media tries to fill time and space, Curtis points out seven major ones, my favorite being Media Fearmongering. I suppose I like this because it's just so obvious and so easy. Examples include the current hype over where to relocate the world-devouring supervillains from Guantanamo, the perennial articles about how hidden earthquake faults could kill us all, and the airplane crash stories.

The recent crash of Air France is an excellent example. While it is certainly a terrible thing that the plane went down, and important to the families and friends of those who died on the plane, is it really a topic the needs a week of international coverage? The same goes for suicides in Japan. So why does the media go nuts for a plane crash, but not for unsafe driving or suicide? My guess is that a plane crash is more spectacular, more mysterious and more likely to get people's attention. Reporting on the actual number of auto-related fatalities would hit too close to home. What's more, a plane crash story probably writes itself.

Change a few names and numbers, and the reporting on one crash looks pretty much like every other. That combination of spectacle and sloth makes plane crashes a godsend for reporters and editors with time to fill. Fearmongering in the media isn't harmless either. Last year, in the run-up to the activation of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, there were a lot of articles about whether or not the LHC would destroy the world. Rather than do some investigating, ask some experts and report back that it wouldn't, the media decided to teach the controversy.

Matching another of Curtis' bad news categories, they gave Equal Time to Nutjobs who claimed that the work at the LHC would destroy the world.

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Rather than debunk the nutjobs, they played it for all it was worth, claiming that there actually was a controversy over the LHC, when in fact no such controversy existed. One of the effects of this was the suicide of a girl in India, who believed in the end-of-the-world scenarios. She was sixteen years old, and the news convinced her that she and everyone she loved was going to die. Can we hold the mass media directly responsible for this girl's death? Only if we can hold them responsible for the other deaths their fearmongering has caused - and here I'm thinking of the "controversy" over whether vaccines cause autism.

They don't, but it's more fun for people like Oprah Winfrey to pretend they do. And so kids die. My other favorite Not News is Media Fatigue - what happens when the media eats itself. With twenty-four hours a day to fill, but without twenty-four hours of news to fill it, the competition for breaking news is incredibly fierce. The first network to report on a big story will basically own that story, and the other networks have to scramble to catch up.

In that writhing, twisting nest of vipers, it's sometimes very hard for anyone to stop reporting on a story that has basically run its course - thus, media fatigue. Curtis has broken it down into five simple steps: 1. News breaks 2. Issue retractions 3. Talk it to death 4. By the time they stop focusing on the story and start talking about themselves, you can be pretty sure that you're seeing the end of it. Really, neither of these events were news of any import.

Hunting accidents happen all the time, and Jackson's boob-flash was so quick and so low-def that most viewers didn't know they had seen it until they were told they had and probably didn't know they should be outraged until there were told they should be. But both stories generated media storms that didn't blow out until way past their expiration dates. The point is that while the concept of news on demand is good, the execution of it has been terrible.

With networks talking about health care reform in the same breath as whether or not David Letterman made an inappropriate joke, it's hard for the audience to know what they should read and what they should ignore. While the news providers' position has always been 'We leave it up to the readers to judge what's important and what isn't," that flies in the face of what we all know about human nature: people can be really, really dumb.

People don't have the time or the inclination to read every story, judge it on its merits and sort the wheat from the chaff, and to pretend otherwise reveals either a profound misunderstanding of human nature or a level of cynicism that makes me look like Pollyanna. While it may seem all patriarchal, I think we do need someone to draw the line and say what is news and what isn't. I don't know who, or how, but someone should do it if only so that we can have a news source that we can trust to give us what we need to know.

Put the Britney and Elvis stories in the tabloids - if we buy those, we know what we're getting - and leave the real news alone. The book is a good, quick read, and while it's clear that Curtis may not have the academic or professional qualifications to be a media analyst, he has whatever the internet equivalent of "street smarts" is. He's snarky and cynical, in the mold of so many people whose job it is to sit back and observe society. You can only run a news-based site for so long without noticing some patterns. He also includes some of the stories featured on FARK and select comments from users, which are usually entertaining.

While Curtis believes that there may be a way to fix the media, he doesn't believe it'll ever be done. As a fellow cynic, I have to agree - it would be far too much work and cost far too many advertising dollars to whip things into shape. The current system, from the point of view of the media outlets, works, and there's no point in tinkering with it.

Perhaps the much-prophesied Death of the Newspapers will help some - the local news outlet can be resurrected by a kind of local bloggers' co-op or somesuch. I'm sure there are people out there who follow the journalistic tradition of wanting to tell people what's going on. Unfortunately, those aren't the people that the media wants right now. So give it a read, and keep your eyes open.

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When you see a story about something like "sexting" or whether Tom Cruise drinks puppy blood for breakfast, ask yourself - is this news, or is it just FARK? May 13, Hal Johnson rated it really liked it Shelves: pub , humor , current-events. What's amazing about this book, a decade after its appearance, is how benign the media landscape it presents is.

Fake news is lazy and annoying, but not necessarily evil or destructive. The Russians are interested in analyzing what "gets clicks" in America, but the answer they've come up with is not "hate" or "divisiveness" but "ghosts"! Fark is not so much a warning that we ignored it certainly doesn't imply that things will get worse as a Proud Tower —style portrait of a world before the What's amazing about this book, a decade after its appearance, is how benign the media landscape it presents is. Fark is not so much a warning that we ignored it certainly doesn't imply that things will get worse as a Proud Tower —style portrait of a world before the fall.

A stupid, corrupt, lazy world, but still a prelapsarian one. Sep 15, Andrew rated it it was ok Recommends it for: Farkers, people who are frustrated with the Media. Shelves: one-book-per-week I've been reading Fark. Although the book has been out for a couple of years, a quick glance at the book store convinced me that there was no rush to read it and that I should just take it out of the library when I got around to it. In case you don't know, Fark. Each story is submitted by the readers, who send a link to the article and a funny headline.

The best links are posted on the main website, and become open to discussion. Because Drew Curtis, the creator and owner of Fark, reads most of the articles that are submitted, he is perhaps more qualified than anyone else in the world to write a book about garbage articles being passed off as news. Curtis understands how the news world works, and how the defining feature of Mass Media always capitalized in this book is laziness. There is no conspiracy by Mass Media to keep the public uninformed, or to push them towards one political extreme or the other.

Fark founder Drew Curtis flattens the Fourth Estate with his new book.

Rather, most people working in media will take the path of least resistance and churn out articles with as little effort as possible. Curtis points out that none of these types of articles are really news, but Mass Media will continue publishing them as long as readers keep consuming them. Following each example article, Curtis makes some observations then includes some of the comments that were posted about the article on Fark. These comments, often caustic or sarcastic, always funny, are some of the best moments of the book.

This is well and good if you're debating on a message board, but there is a different standard when you are publishing a book. Now that I've written that, I'm not entirely sure why that is or if it should be the case. But it is an important point, that material published on the internet has a lower assumed value than what is published on paper. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Mass Media can get away with publishing the kind of crap that it does; people assume that because it is in a newspaper or on TV, it means that the information is trustworthy, accurate, and worth hearing about.

A book about Mass Media written by an outsider is valuable and relevant. Unfortunately this book simply is not as good as it could be, and left me feeling like Curtis didn't try hard enough or that the book could have used a couple more edits. Feb 18, Leslie rated it it was ok. I picked this book up for my boyfriend, who is an avid Fark and Total Fark reader, but I enjoy the site as well so gave the book a shot. It's a quick read, and Curtis immediately hooked me with his scathing commentary on the ridiculousness that passes as news though it's a good thing he's pretty funny, because his writing talents are not exactly stellar.

His insights aren't anything that someone who regularly reads the mainstream news hasn't already realized, but his wit, immense memory for in I picked this book up for my boyfriend, who is an avid Fark and Total Fark reader, but I enjoy the site as well so gave the book a shot. His insights aren't anything that someone who regularly reads the mainstream news hasn't already realized, but his wit, immense memory for inane news stories, and Fark comments keep it feeling fresh.

I kept thinking, okay, he's setting the stage and then he's going to get to the point. Halfway through Two thirds The verdict?

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Curtis has no clue. He doesn't even attempt to offer alternatives. He concludes that people don't actually want to read real news; they want the crap. Certainly he has an interest in maintaining the status quo--Fark exists because of all the crap. For a book about how terrible news organizations are for not fact checking, reporting on rumors, cutting and pasting, and not doing any in-depth research, he sure sets a terrible example of how to do better. The book reads more like a blog than anything else. Maybe that's how he intended it, but it grated on me that Curtis would not at least attempt to gain some of the credibility he accuses mass media of lacking due to laziness.

All in all, this book falls prey to the exact same affliction. It's a shame Feb 01, Fen rated it really liked it. I'm a bit of a fan of Fark. As such, the book is likely to become a bit dated before long It was published in and, for example, has many references to a now deceased celebrity and multiple references to a politician who was at one time believed to be involved i I'm a bit of a fan of Fark. It was published in and, for example, has many references to a now deceased celebrity and multiple references to a politician who was at one time believed to be involved in the death of an intern and has since been completely exonerated they found the actual killer last year.

Kind of awkward although, also sort of to the point of the book. The book goes through the various problems in stories run by Mass Media, giving multiple examples of each type of issue e. Jul 10, Ryan rated it liked it.

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As someone who enjoys Fark. This book certainly does that, and was good for a few laughs over a plane ride and some odd looks from fellow passengers. The problem, I think, is that it's written in the same style that I would use to write a book, and I'm not a very good writer. Drew tosses in a few "So it goes," which for some reason irks me more in print than it would on As someone who enjoys Fark. Drew tosses in a few "So it goes," which for some reason irks me more in print than it would on the internet and has some minor quirks in style that one might find odd if one ever wasn't reading Fark for more than thirty seconds at a time.

It's hilarious in some parts, seems copy-and-pasted in others, and the use of farker comments varies between adding to the humor and appearing to be the source for the media analysis in the chapter in which they appear. I'd recommend giving it a read, but know that you're getting what you could probably get from simply hanging out in some Fark threads for a little while. This is another one of those books that I initially loved, but over time, my feelings have softened up toward it. Most of the non-news can go in one of several categories all of which get their own chapter with several exa This is another one of those books that I initially loved, but over time, my feelings have softened up toward it.

Most of the non-news can go in one of several categories all of which get their own chapter with several examples proving the point. My one big nitpick is the inclusion of Fark comments at the end of each example article. Overall, decent read, would recommend for newshounds. Jul 25, Martin added it. Curtis, as a result of his proprietorship of Fark. This book provided a valuable service for me. It happens often that a certain detail of humanity drives me nuts, and I read a book that explains the phenomenon in detail and puts me at ease.

The first time this happened was when vehicular traffic and the fact that three buses show up at my stop at the same time. I read a book called "Why Buses Come in Threes" and laid these matters to rest for me. I then found myself railing against non-news items and am fully assuaged with the reading of this book. Now irrational human behavior still drives me nuts, so I'll be reading Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational" in the hopes of laying that to rest as well. Anyway, I had slacked off my Fark.

May 28, Steve rated it really liked it. I'm a big fan of fark. Much like the Daily Show and Colbert Report, I feel like I'm getting a more trustworthy version of the news from the semi-comedic sources than the actual news. What's nice about this book, is it helps explain why that is the case. Drew has been using his position as the owner of fark to analyze the media over the past decade, and the book presents an extremely clear and fairly thorough critique of all that is wrong with the media.

It ran I'm a big fan of fark. It ranges from things that are obvious to probably pretty much everyone celebrity obsession, for example to some more subtle media patterns. Not merely an inventory of media problems though, the book also explains how or why the problems exist, and in many cases, barriers that exist preventing the problems from being fixed.

Stock photo. Brand new: lowest price The lowest-priced brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging where packaging is applicable. See details. Buy It Now. Add to cart. Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Information Now in paperback, the hilarious expos on the media gone awry, from the creator of the wildly popular Fark.

Drew exposes eight stranger-than-fiction media patterns that prove just how little reporting is going on in the world of reporters today. Additional Product Features Dewey Edition. Instead of urging journalists to raise their standards the typical tack taken by the press-guardian-industrial complex Curtis puts the onus on readers, insisting that they become better news consumers. Show More Show Less. Any Condition Any Condition. No ratings or reviews yet. Be the first to write a review. Best Selling in Nonfiction See all.