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The Truth Matters: A Citizen's Guide to Separating Facts from Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its Tracks
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The Truth Matters: A Citizen's Guide to Separating Facts from Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its Tracks

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Distinguish fake news from reliable journalism with this clear and concise handbook by New York Times best-selling author Bruce Bartlett.

Today’s media and political landscapes are littered with untrustworthy sources and the dangerous concept of “fake news.” This accessible guide helps you fight this deeply troubling trend and ensure that truth is not a permanent casualty
Kindle Edition, 140 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Ten Speed Press
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3.87  · 
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 ·  254 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Quintin Zimmermann
It is an unfortunate blight of our times that we have the proliferation of fake news and alternative facts.

Bruce Bartlett is a gifted journalist who certainly reigns in the word count to succinctly get his message across.

However, the content of the book is not really written for the consumption and enjoyment of the general public - instead the unintended target audience is actually journalists themselves. The entire book reads like a workbook for journalists with practical how-to-steps that jo
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Libraries are even more essential in the Internet era; they are the gatekeepers of trustworthy information."

This little chunky book is an informative, reader-friendly, intelligent quick read loaded with bite-sized analyzing tools and tidbits on how to discern factual/reputable information from that of fake/false/jaded news.

I gained a good bit of useful information from research techniques, fact-checking considerations, and credible platforms for investigative research. Basically, information e
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
I'll be thinking about this book for a while. Although I fear an earlier reviewer is correct when he noted that the folks who don't need it will read and the folks who need it won't read it, I think we all need it. At least I do.

Besides being a call for clarity and honesty in our consumption of news (and in its creation, of which I have little control), the author calls for critical thinking and, best of all, offers actual resources to help find informative places to verify information.

In a worl
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is an easy read in terms of its word economy and avoidance of jargon. Bruce Bartlett makes a good effort at making his ideas and information accessible to the citizen(s) for which he set out to write the book. Most of the information he provides squares with my own understanding of verification and vigorous inquiry in order to avoid creating or promoting misleading news.

My one gripe is that Bartlett at times stumbles into the kind of assumptions against which his book cautions. As a wo
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The TRUTH matters!!! There are thousands of pieces of news emerging every day, but how many of them are actually authentic?

Through discussing about fake news, confirmation bias, advertisements behind clicks, deceptive labels, etc. this book is certainly a reminder for everyone to start thinking critically......

P.S. There are many decent and useful evaluation sources provided in the book as well (soooo beneficial to an IB student XD)
Gregory Vince
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Every news consumer should read this

I've read Bartlett ever since "Imposter" and always find his work to be incredibly valuable. This work is one for the young news consumer and for the old as well as we adjust to the social media age and are exposed to many falsehoods in the news. This is a quick read but a very important one.
Jennifer Mangler
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Bartlett provides practical advice and resources in every chapter of this book. Even if much of the advice is not new to you, the book will still make you think. And that is so very important. If you're worried about fake news but feel helpless and don't know what to do about it, I recommend this book to you.
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
Dec 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
The author wouldn't know fake news from the truth if it were standing right in front of him. What a waste of time.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Several good suggestions.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: citizens
I stumbled on this tiny little pocket-sized handbook while browsing the new nonfiction section of my library. This is exactly what I was looking for to get beyond Trump’s “fake news” to address “real” fake news, to broaden narrowcasting in social media, and to combat conspiracy theories in the alternative media. For too long we have been accepting the decay of reliable journalism in the mainstream media. Bartlett, in an nonpartisan manner, dissects the WHY and arms you with the HOW to navigate t ...more
Tonstant Weader
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Truth Matters is one of those books that will be read most often by folks who need it least and least by those who need it most. It’s short and sweet, just checking out the first section to decide whether to read it next, I was soon twenty percent through the book, so I just finished it in about an hour. It is written by the conservative economist Bruce Bartlett who worked for Ron Paul, Jack Kemp, Ronald Reagan, and the first Bush White House and several conservative think tanks such as the ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short: 130 postcard-sized (4 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches) pages.

The author states that many readers would know a lot of this stuff, but most readers would find at least a few things they didn't know. I found this statement to be true for me. This book should be required reading for high school and college students, and suggested reading for almost everyone. The book does what the subtitle says it does: helps the reader assess the news and other information he/she encounters in day-to-day life.

I have a fe
Dec 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Having recently experienced a presidential campaign where truth took a back seat, this book caught my interest. During my years of schooling, I was taught how to evaluate sources of information. It seems to be a skill lost for many in the contemporary American public.

Unlike a generation ago, there is now a plethora of news sources. Bartlett wants readers to be able to discern truth in the midst of it all. He shares methods he has used for decades. He looks at the rise of various media outlets. H
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Truth Matters, Bruce Bartlett, 2017, ISBN 9780399581168

In an era of "fake news" and "alternative facts," this short book attempts to show how the average person can distinguish between real news and propaganda.

If a news story is being covered by only one news source, the story is probably fake. Get in the habit of frequently visiting a fact check website. Does a source have a bias in a news story? Are they less than non-partisan?

Frequently, a story will cite "according to a government study"
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I started to pay attention to Bruce Bartlett after I ran into a woman at the library who was reading his older works. She explained that Bartlett was a Republican who worked in the Reagan administration whose politics had shifted, and she was reading his old works to understand why. Shortly after that encounter, I started following him on Twitter where he has been heavily promoting his new book.

This is a very small book on how to find reliable information in a world full of misleading news. Bar
Robert C
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, I liked this book. However, it was not the book I was looking for.

I was looking for a book that would help me develop lessons to help sharpen my Middle School students filter for fake news. Toward that end, in the last chapter there is mention of a curriculum that I will look into.

I mention the above to make it clear that I am not calling this a bad book. It was a very readable, short, book that kept me interested all through it. No sections were duds. I have read other works of the
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education, rhetoric
I have been an avid news consumer since high school, so I am often surprised at how little many people seem to know about gleaning information from a news story. What are the tell tale signs of an unreliable source? What is the value of an opinion poll? Is there a liberal bias to the mainstream media and if so, does it matter? This little book is a great guide to reading the news critically and includes helpful information on how to use online sources efficiently. Answers lots of the questions m ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it
As the author states in the prologue, many readers will be familiar with most of the content of this book, however there will likely be a few gems. And so it was: I knew most of the content and found the following to be valuable to me:
- The Congressional Research Service produces reports on various subjects for congress. Two publicly available sites attempt to make these reports available to all: and
- attempts to archive the web, focusing on the
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just finished Bruce Bartlett’s “The Truth Matters” It is a handy little reference guide with many insights gleaned from a lifetime of reporting. The last few pages lists many resources with their links so that you can hone in on what you are checking out as true. It will fit in your cargo pants pocket or purse and at the ready if you are tempted to go with what seems too good to be true. In these ‘fake new’ days it is like being vaccinated against a virus that is proving deadly these days. You ...more
Mark Schlatter
Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: shreve, new_book_area
This is a very short little volume that does a fairly nice job at its subtitle. Bartlett has experience both on Capitol Hill and as a editorial columnist, so he can speak to both sides of the political journalistic endeavor. I also appreciated his quality comments on numerical information (e.g., the reliability of polling, expressing financial amounts in inflation-adjusted dollars, etc..) Some parts felt a bit dated, especially the sections on library research and RSS feeds, and I felt the whole ...more
David Doel
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a useful and brief description of current tools used by journalists to verify the validity of potential stories. It is very useful, nicely organized and has a lot of good reference material. Unfortunately, the people who need to read it most, won't. Bruce Bartlett is a conservative (I'm not) and he might say that he needed to learn to recognize "fake news" before we of a more liberal persuasion did. His approaches are opinion neutral and can be used by anyone. We will have better and mor ...more
Hannah Brislin
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A quick read that is straight to the point. Bartlett provided great insight into how to properly research and find factual, semi non-sensationalized news sources. Bartlett provided real-life examples of how news gets manipulated and how the people and the government use "news" to manipulate the public. He rightfully calls out all sides of the political spectrum when it comes to spreading fake news and misleading the public. It leaves the reader with a better understanding of current issues with ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
This short book is also short on insight. It constantly harps back to the "print age" as if most of its readers were immersed in it. Far from the truth. The flow of web news and info has been inundating people for many years. The basics are spelled out - so yes, this book could be given to a high school student but beyond that no one. Better turn to books like, Blur, or the various titles related to information overload instead.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was ok

I bought the kindle version after seeing Bartlett on MSNBC. I should have been warned when I saw the price was only a few dollars but the subject intrigued me. Anyway, this book is nothing more than a sourcing guide for the uninitiated, maybe useful for high school students or college undergrads. If I had perused a hard copy in a bookshop I probably would have passed on it
Highly recommended quick read on how easy it is in the end to not fall for lies and fake news if you follow some simple rules of professionalism and ethical standards. I agree with the author that simple critical thinking is the best defense agains lies - followed by education that enable critical thinking. Great insight from the perspective of a journalist. It really isn't rocket science to avoid falling for lies in the information space.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reading this small (my copy 136 pages) book in today's world of "fake news" & social media as the main source of people's news is very important. This is a guide with tips and tricks for separating lies from facts. It aids one in reading critically, judging sources, using fact-checking sites, avoiding confirmation bias, identifying trustworthy experts and more to facilitate a search for the truth. Highly recommended.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full of good tips to help us navigate the world of news and journalism (and pseudo-journalism). This book would be a great resource for a first-year university course, but also just for anyone who wants a succinct, clear guide to figuring out what a journalist means when they use certain terms - or just distinguishing between truth, truthiness, and falsehood.
Michelle Beese
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
The world we find ourselves in these days can really gain some important perspective from this small book that truly helps one decipher what is true and what is "fake news". One of my biggest nuggets I gleaned from this book is the importance of critical thinking. The Suggested Resources in the back of the book are very helpful!
David Warick
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Timely Read for Students

Concise and clear; good points made throughout. These checkpoints are an excellent antidote against hysteria, anger, unnecessary polarization, and irrational thinking.
Mike OHagerty
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Need help finding the truth in all the nonsense? Bruce Bartlett does the heavy lifting and points you to the knowledge. Fair warning: If you follow the tips in this book, you may discover that things aren’t exactly like you expect them to be.
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