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It's Not News, It's Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap As News

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  524 ratings  ·  82 reviews
From the creator of Fark.com, an exposé on the media gone awry, revealing the hysterical, often outrageous non-news that passes for newsworthy today

Have you ever found yourself noticing certain patterns in the news you see and read each day? Perhaps it’s the blatant fear-mongering in the absence of facts on your local 6 o’clock news (“Tsunami could hit the Atlantic any d
...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 31st 2007 by Gotham (first published 2007)
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PlatKat
Nov 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who doesn't "get" Fark
Recommended to PlatKat by: An unattended bookshelf, and to a lesser extent, Drew Curtis
Right before I left New York a few years ago, I was anonymously sponsored for a TotalFark subscription. TotalFark is a sub-community of the news aggregator site, Fark, in which people pay $5 per month or are sponsored to enjoy a smaller posting community with extra viewing privileges. That's the most objective way I can define it, as since then it has changed my life dramatically. (I know, gross.)

I mention TF because it is only through the random sponsorship of Anonymous that I saw an announceme
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Tony
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
★★★☆ for the introduction. On its own it would have made an interesting article, setting out a mildly humorous, yet fairly insightful, taxonomy of the sorts of stories mass media runs in the absence of any real news (“Media Fearmongering”, “Unpaid Placement Masquerading as Actual Article”, “Headline Contradicted by Actual Article”, “Equal Time for Nutjobs”, “The Out-of-Context Celebrity Comment”, “Seasonal Articles”, “Media Fatique”, “Lesser Media Space Fillers”).

The rest of the book, however,
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Lindsay
Feb 27, 2009 rated it liked it
I really liked this in the beginning, but then I began to lose interest.
Also, I took a bit of offense at the take that news outside of NYC and LA is not covered. Of course NYC and LA get tons of coverage: they're our biggest (and greatest) cities! Boo hoo, Kentucky!
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Ashley
May 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
Funny, but about 200 pages too long.
Chris
Jun 17, 2009 rated it liked it
You all know FARK.com, right? What? 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. For the rest of you - SHAME!

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
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Hal Johnson
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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Sharon Falduto
The founder of news site fark.com complies a media criticism of the not-news stories that mainstream media regularly runs--celebrity comments, equal time for nut jobs, things given more importance if they happen closer to New York, L.A., or CNN's Atlanta hub. Complete with sample articles and comments from threads on fark.com.
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Andrew (M)
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Farkers, people who are frustrated with the Media
I've been reading Fark.com for years, so it was inevitable that I would make a point to read Drew Curtis' book. 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. While “It's Not News, It's Fark” is entertaining, sometimes laugh out loud funny, and occasionally insightful, this is hardly a must-read.

In case you don't know, Fark.com is a ne
...more
Leslie
Feb 18, 2008 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 ...more
Fen
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm a bit of a fan of Fark.com already, so there really wasn't anything particularly new in this book, but I found it a very well-written and well laid out explanation of the problems with Mass Media in the modern age. As such, the book is likely to become a bit dated before long... in fact, it already has to some extent. It was published in 2007 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 ...more
Ryan Murphy
Jul 10, 2007 rated it liked it
As someone who enjoys Fark.com, I'm down with a book that attempts to look at the media patterns that allow a humorous news aggregator like Fark to exist. 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 ...more
Laura Martinelli
This is another one of those books that I initially loved, but over time, my feelings have softened up toward it. However, I think that this has a lot of good points to make about Mass Media in today’s world, and it’s still pretty good.

Curtis’s main argument is that there’s really not a lot of ‘important’ news that takes up media space, particularly when there’s not real news going on. Most of the non-news can go in one of several categories (all of which get their own chapter) with several exa
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Martin
Jul 25, 2011 added it
What a fantastic, eye-opening, revealing, hilarious exposé on mass media! Curtis, as a result of his proprietorship of Fark.com is the single person most qualified to opine on this subject, and he does so with aplomb, blowing the lid off the machinations of the media and why they function the way they do. 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. Th ...more
Julianne
Dec 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people tired of mass media
Recommended to Julianne by: Melissa
Easy, fun read. Did it in one evening.

Very funny book. Drew Curtis is no award-winning author (he's engaging, but not the best I've ever read), but his ideas are compelling and his website (www.fark.com) is a winner. I've been saying these things for years. Just recently the TOP story in the 6 o'clock local (Baltimore) news was an outbreak of MRSA in a well-known hospital. They listed all the shocking things the hospital was doing to prevent further spread. NEWSFLASH: it's the middle of winter;
...more
Steve
May 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of fark.com, and I have been for a few years. 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
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Christine
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christine by: Ryan
This book is both funny and depressing. It’s funny because of the comments and stories, and depressing because damn the media hasn’t changed in the seven years since the book came out.


It might have gotten worse.

Fark details and presents examples about how the media doesn’t really report news when it is reporting - at least in most cases unless something major happens. So CNN’s the plane is still missing thing. Or NBC’s Real Poverty : Man lives on $5,000 a day. OR Rain, see that drop!

There’s a
...more
Melissa
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who is tired of the media
Shelves: read-in-2008
As a student of journalism, I added this book to my list for purely educational reasons. This book was educational, witty and funny. It really is funny how much of our daily "news" is actually crap that is just constantly recycled. I actually have a lot of fun now watching the news in the morning and going on CNN at work and counting the crap that is actually mentioned in Curtis's book. Some parts did read very textbook-y to me, as surprisingly, most journalism textbooks I read in college are no ...more
Wayne Baxter
Apr 26, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a bathroom book. It isn't a book I read from front to back. I pick it up, read a little and put it down. Eventually all the stories will become old and I'll lay it down for a few years, and read anew. In other word I'm sure this will be on my current list for most of this year.

The premise of this book, for those who have not visited the site, is the author has reviewed enough news stories to see a pattern in their stories. When there is no new news, or a need to take a break from an on g
...more
Megan
Sep 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Megan by: New England Mobile Book Fair shelf
I picked this book up because I wanted an inside perspective about what stories "make news" when there is no news worth reporting. It was good to read about how certain stories gain horrific proportions in the effort to win viewers, and see the patterns for myself. For example the "bacteria" story. "Do you know what is lurking in your kitchen/bathroom towels/drinking water? etc.
Other questions it raised. Why are power outages in New York so much more interesting than another other locale in the
...more
Eric Rasmussen
Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Fark is my number one website distraction, and the Fark book is the paper version of the screen experience. Unfortunately, I was hoping for a little more. The book, like the website, is funny, pleasant, and occasionally dabbles in some level of intelligent analysis of or commentary on the news. This book could have been so much more, though. Had it included some expert opinion, the slightest bit of research, or connection to other work done on the state of the modern media, this could have been ...more
Tracey
Jun 03, 2008 rated it liked it
20080301 - bought. Started 23 Aug 2008;

Drew Curtis is the "father" of fark.com: a website where visitors submit links to news items found around the Internet and provide a witty tagline - Curtis and his compatriots winnow through the submissions and pick the best/funniest ones to post. This site is perhaps only second to The Daily Show as being both a source for actually getting one's news as well as making fun of how Mass Media covers the news.

This book provides a detailed, amusing and yet so
...more
Jeremy Matters
Feb 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As a long-time farker (mostly a lurker), I was glad to see this volume finally see the light of day. A very readable, entertaining work that gives the media the dressing down it deserves, while explaining the basic human weakness inherent in the rest of us which has caused all the trouble.

As one of the world's busiest news readers, Curtis is uniquely qualified to talk about media trends, and his voice, even at its most disappointed, is always pleasant and friendly. The format of the book is not
...more
Kristen Northrup
I've heard of Fark but never visited it. This was loaned to us because my boyfriend works in local news. He hasn't had a chance to read it yet but I really enjoyed it. The "most news is crap" message wasn't exactly surprising or controversial, but it was interesting to see it divided into clear recurring themes. And his analysis and suggestions at the end about how to stay viable made a lot of sense. Most of the funniest bits were in the comments. Which I thus felt a little guilty about laughing ...more
Ryan I
Apr 05, 2010 rated it liked it
You could probably call it 'The Daily Show' for newspapers.

Fark creator/curator Drew Curtis breaks down a lot of the problems with the junk that fills up the spaces in between the newspaper ads, breaking it down by section in a pretty clever way.

Unfortunately, most of the problems with lazy journalism is already well-documented and actual ideas on how to fix the newspapers/journalism are a lot more interesting that attacks are at this point. (And Curtis throws his two cents in at the end, brin
...more
Amy
Sep 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Drew Curtis, the man behind FARK.com, has seen approximately one kajillion postings flow through his site since the day he founded it. That's plenty for him to notice patterns in the information that the mass media generates to fill the demands of today's 24-hour-a-day news cycle. This book brilliantly deconstructs those patterns, with the assistance of actual examples from FARK's archives and the usual gang of commenters. There are laughs aplenty, too, as one might expect from a book that came ...more
Jeff Guertin
Feb 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
I used to visit this site daily, and it's great. Drew tried to go in a slightly different direction with this book and mix in funny stories that are submitted to the website along with his commentary about Mass Media as a whole. I think it's a good effort, and I enjoyed reading it, but I thought there was a bit of a disconnect in this attempt, mostly because a lot of the commentary seemed redundant. The best part of the book were the comments by Farkers. That being said, the last few pages Curti ...more
Leonard
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
You don't have to read much of this book to get the point. In fact with a reasonable amount of thinking and intelligence, you might not have to read it at all. Fark is everywhere, and fairly obvious. Fark is especially prevalent on some one-sided political media sources. Fark may be why we rarely see dogs or cats watching TV. They're smart enough to know that it's crap. I have to wonder if the promotional line at the top of the cover claiming that it's quoting Stephen King is Fark. It says,"The ...more
Tim Sallinger
Jun 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
This book could have been an informed critique of Mass Media, and it comes close---I think a lot of the attacks levied by Curtis are valid. Unfortunately, his claims are only backed up by anecdotes, and overall he seems more concerned with writing a funny book than an informative one. The only reason I was excited to read this book was because I saw the first chapter posted online when it was published and it was interesting---little did I know that the rest of the book would consist of Curtis h ...more
Bassam Islam
May 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, funny, non-fiction
A hilarious and skeptical look at the state of news articles, including great headlines.
Starts off with a short-ish section on how the news media are basically lazy, then goes to the different types of articles that are published when they're desperate for content on slow news days.
The rest of the book are a "best-of" from the past years of news articles. I laughed out loud several times.
I recommend this book to anyone who gets tired of the "everybody panic!" mentality of today's news sources.
...more
Chris
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find I have a very low tolerance for what I now know can be called "fark." Geez, relationship updates for people who are famous for being famous is not news! Please. If you feel as I do, this book shows you that it's not a feeling at all, it's a depressingly accurate assessment of Mass Media.

In a wrap-up toward the end of the book Curtis says, "You can be a news leader or a crap peddler, not both." Exactly! Sadly, since this book was published, I think news has taken a turn for the worse. All
...more
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