Schweizer Journalist, Nr. 8 + 9
Detecting Bull is a title which, when translated literally to German, might cause a bit of confusion. Californian media researcher John McManus is neither advertising an energy drink (i.e. Red Bull), nor discussing bear and bull market trends.
Rather, Detecting Bull is something like a lie detector, designed to help journalism professionals and ordinary media users uncover “bullshit” in the media. The enlightening compendium encourages readers to more effectively deal with spin doctors, lightweights and those who pollute our intellectual environments.
The medium through which McManus presents his lessons is equally remarkable – a CD replaces the traditional book. Of course, one can choose to print the content rather than simply load it on the laptop, but doing so reduces the usability of the product. The disc provides useful links, multimedia applications, clickable info-graphics, cartoons, photographs, video clips and footnotes to simulate what future journalism textbooks could potentially look like. Detecting Bull is a pioneering work that belies those who continue to insist that reading on the screen cannot be fun.
John McManus, Detecting Bull. How to Identify Bias and Junk Journalism in Print, Broadcast, and on the Wild Web – self-published CD only available here.