Gladstone’s first book, The Influencing Machine, guides us through media history, debunking the notion that “The Media” is an external force beyond our control and equipping us to be savvy consumers and shapers of the news. A 10th anniversary edition brings the story up to date, with new illustrations and an afterword that offers a deep examination of the rise of social media and the public’s responsibility in a time of division and disinformation.
In her 2017 book, The Trouble With Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time, Gladstone argues that humans have always been instinctively biased toward stories that agree with our beliefs. We see this today in the “fake news” epidemic that has increasingly polarized America. Conservatives and liberals alike find confirmation for their views in the news media, whether the reporting is true or false.
Gladstone speaks about how the spread of false information through the internet fueled the separation of realities in America, and she offers a roadmap for reaffirming the use of facts in American civil discourse. “We must go beyond mere fact checking, because facts alone don’t persuade. If we want to reach Americans who live in a different reality, first we need to take a closer look at the beliefs and prejudices that make up their bubble of reality as well as our own.”
Gladstone lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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