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The post-truth society: how we got here; where is "here", exactly, and what on earth can we do about it?

We are living in the era of “post-truth”. People in this country have had enough of experts, apparently. Instead, we are offered alternative facts, fake news, social media echo chambers, dodgy statistics and outright lies. With a tsunami of information coming at us from every direction, citizen journalism, e-petitions and blogs, we are more politically engaged than ever; but when politicians and the media tell us their truth, we just don’t buy it any more.

How did it come to this? To the chattering classes, recent political events have come as a shock, while the voters wonder: why haven’t they been listening? Politicians and journalists live, work and play together in an insulated London bubble. They went to the same schools. They share the same top jobs. They’re completely out of touch with how the other half lives.

Meanwhile, the internet helps a lie to get halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on. Investigative reporting is in the doldrums, while fake news is spread for free online. But if we are all journalists now, what responsibility do we have to check sources, to educate ourselves, and to pay for news? How do we stay reliably informed in a world where truth is supposedly a thing of the past?

In Not Buying It, Charlotte Henry looks at the facts behind fake news, talking to the major players in politics and media, old and new. She also talks to voters and thinkers from outside the media bubble, to provide context, explanation, and, crucially, solutions. “Post-truth” was the Oxford Dictionary’s word of 2016. This year, let’s start getting the truth back.

Charlotte Henry is a journalist, broadcaster and communications professional.  She has worked both freelance and on the staff for a variety of major publications. These include City AM, the Spectator, the Independent on Sunday, CapX, Computer Business Review, and the MacObserver
At all these publications, she has worked to highlight and explain the collision between technology, politics and the media. 
Charlotte has appeared as a pundit on broadcast media, discussing key breaking stories on Sky News, BBC News and a range of regional and national radio stations, as well as doing newspaper reviews.
She has also worked on a variety of political campaigns, advising on digital communication. Charlotte has twice been a candidate herself, running unsuccessfully for the London Assembly and as a local councillor for the Liberal Democrats. Prior to that she held senior roles in the party's youth wing.
Charlotte grew up in north London, where she still lives. In her spare time she is a long suffering fan of Tottenham Hotspur, and a lover of rock, dance, and heavy metal music. She is also battling an addiction to crime novels. This is Charlotte’s first book. 

It was January 22nd 2017, when lies officially became alternative facts. Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to the newly inaugurated President Trump, took to the airwaves. Speaking on the major Sunday morning programme Meet the Press, Conway defended Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s assertion that Trump had drawn “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in-person and around the globe”. This was despite large amounts of photographic and other evidence to the contrary.

As has become customary in our hyper-networked age, the clip spread around the globe almost instantly. The phrase stuck.  It stuck not just because what Conway saying was clearly ridiculous, but also because the phrase perfectly summed up the era in which we are living.

This is an age in which expertise is seen as elitist and not to be trusted. In one of the lowest points of the UK’s 2016 EU referendum, the Leave campaigner Michael Gove, a hyper-intelligent bookworm, declared that “the British people have had enough of experts…”

It is an age in which the truth is up for grabs, and facts are no longer sacred.

Read more...

Sky News interview on how to fight fake news

Saturday, 10 February 2018

With MPs from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee holding hearings on fake news in Washington DC, I discuss how to fix the issues on Sky News Sunrise and explain some of the solutions that I highlight in the book. You can watch it below:

Another milestone

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Manuscript

Last night my book hit the 70 per cent funded mark! With that milestone reached, and the end of the writing process in sight, Not Buying It is starting to feel very real indeed. 

Thank you to everyone who has back this project already - I hope you enjoy the final product. If you want to upgrade your pledge, for example if you initially bought a digital copy but now fancy a paperback, you can…

Paperback writer

Monday, 9 October 2017

It will not have escaped your notice that the news is moving rather quickly at the moment.

When I started on “Not Buying It” I knew I’d be writing about a timely topic, but everytime I think I’ve finished a chapter I have to update it because something else happens! Barely a day seems to go by without another outburst from President Trump, revelations over Russian election hacking, or questions…

100 not out

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Pledgeparty

Writing a book is hard, scary...and a total privilege. I never take for granted people giving up their precious time to read what I have written in any format, let alone a book. Publishing with Unbound amplifies this. Watching people pledge, putting their faith, not to mention money, into my book is just an amazing feeling.

It's why I'm particularly excited that I recently got my 100th pledge…

Discount when you pledge now - it must be silly season!

Monday, 21 August 2017

We are fully in the midst of silly season - the summer months (what do you mean you can't tell it's summer here in the UK...) when media and politics take their foot off the gas and try to slow down a bit. Boy do we need it after the last few months...

August is famous for stories featuring the weird, daft and down right odd. To celebrate the nice people at Unbound are giving you 10% off my book…

Discount when you pledge now - it must be silly season!

Monday, 21 August 2017

We are fully in the midst of silly season - the summer months (what do you mean you can't tell it's summer here in the UK...) when media and politics take their foot off the gas and try to slow downa bit. Boy do we need it after the last few months...

August is famous for stories featuring the weird, daft and down right odd. To celebrate the nice people at Unbound are giving you 10% off my book…

The illiberal ideology of fake news

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

This piece was originally published by the think tank Bright Blue. The piece outlines some of the research and thinking in Not Buying It, which you can pledge and support here.

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Fake news has become, quite rightly, a much-discussed topic in recent months. Most analysis of the post-truth era it contributes to looks solely at the technical developments that have allowed fake news to spread…

Attackdog loses its bite

Friday, 16 June 2017

Well that is not exactly how it was meant to work out…

A week on and the current political situation is looking neither strong nor stable.

Prime Minister (for now…) Theresa May took a massive gamble by calling a snap General Election and it seems to have failed spectacularly. Her majority has gone, her authority has been severely diminished.

Amongst the many fascinating elements to emerge…

Oh, snap!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Hello! 

To those of you who have already pledged to get your copy of "Not Buying It", and those who are about to pledge (yes, that's you isn't it?!) thank you very much. The book is taking shape thanks to your support.

When Unbound first comissioned me to write this book we knew we were dealing with a very timely, relevant topic. The issues around fake news and post-truth society that had…

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