James W. Cortada, Research Fellow at the Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota. Author of dozens of books on computers, information, and technology, has written for Oxford University Press, Princeton University Press, MIT Press, John Wiley & Sons, Financial Times, and McGraw-Hill. William Aspray, Jr., professor of information science, University of Colorado Boulder. Author or editor of more than 25 books on the history of computing, mathematics, and information, has written for such presses as MIT Press, Basic Books, and Springer.
This volume makes a useful contribution to the literature on disinformatics. Deceit has always been a constant companion to the tyrant, propagandist and missioner. What is new to our post-truth era is the digital weaponization of deceit, particularly under the rubric of social media. -- Hal Berghel, PhD, author of the Out of Band column in IEEE Computer While smart phones and social networking have brought fake news to the forefront of today's politics and discourse, Cortada and Aspray brilliantly examine the much longer political, cultural, and technological history of misinformation and false facts through elegant cases on elections, climate science, advertising, and in other realms. -- Jeffrey R. Yost, author of Making IT Work: A History of Computer Services Industry (MIT Press, 2017). This book provides a context for qualifying our current national angst about fake news. It does not promise speculative solutions but situates the reader in a long history of information use and misuse and urges us to think critically and reflectively about a fundamentally human-information phenomenon rather than a contemporarily unique condition. -- Gary Marchionini, Cary C. Boshamer Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Using the 2016 United States presidential election as a touchstone, this book looks at how information has long been weaponized in American public life. Grounded in more than two centuries of historical examples, and replete with details, Cortada and Aspray tell a tale of fake facts and fake news and all types of information prevarications in-between. Unafraid to call a lie a lie, the authors take us on a journey through history to show how information has been yielded in the political, business, and policy realm in the pursuit of specific, often nefarious, goals. In the process the book reveals patterns, insights, and understandings to help the reader navigate a past, present, and future in which people behave badly and lies and misrepresentations are unfortunately the norm. -- Ciaran Trace, Associate Professor at the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, Editor of Information & Culture: A Journal of History