Post-truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World
2016 marked the dawn of the post-truth era. The year saw two shock election results, each of which has the potential to reshape the world: the UK's decision to leave the EU, and the elevation of Donald Trump to the office of US President. The campaigns highlighted many of the same issues in their home countries: social division, anger at the elite, anti-immigration sentiment and more--but, more than anything, they heralded an unprecedented rise of bullshit.
Sophistry and spin have been part of politics since the dawn of time. But the modern era sees millions being fed false reports that Hillary Clinton ordered 30,000 guillotines to use on her opponents following her victory, while Trump claims he "never said that" about speeches recorded on video.
Post-truth is bigger than fake news and bigger than social media. It's about the slow rise of a political, media, and online infrastructure that has devalued truth. Bullshit gets you noticed. Bullshit makes you rich. Bullshit can even pave your way to the Oval Office. This is the story of bullshit: what's being spread, who's spreading it, why it works--and what we can do to tackle it.
James Ball has worked in political, data, and investigative journalism in the United States and in the UK for BuzzFeed, The Guardian, and the Washington Post in a career spanning TV, digital, print, and alternative media. His reporting has won several prizes including the Pulitzer Prize for public service.