You Are Being Lied ToThe Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes and Cultural Myths

edited by Russ Kick * published by Disinformation Books 400 pp * ISBN 0966410076


Heading: The Truth Shall Get You Sales Source: Project Eyeball (Singapore), May 14, 2001 Author: Clara Chow

The first print run of 6,000 copies is ''just about gone'', and a second printing of 4,000 is due this month.

Exposes on government and big-corporation cover-ups are dominating the best-seller charts these days. Our reporter finds out why readers are so hungry for the truth.

IN THE 1997 James Bond instalment, Tomorrow Never Dies, media barons and information conglomerates replaced Cold War Russian spies and power-crazy nuclear warlords as the bad guys.

007 went up against a Rupert Murdoch-type media mogul, who wanted to start World War III so that he could acquire broadcasting rights in China.

These sinister ideas of media domination and corporations growing big enough to control economies have filtered right through to the publishing industry. The vogue these days is for books that claim to give the inside truth on the shenanigans of big businesses and governments.

A look at the best-seller charts this week reveals two books that claim to uncover the lies being fed to the public by government agencies and industries.

Fast Food Nation and Body Of Secrets are firmly ensconced, back to back, on the New York Times non-fiction best-seller list.

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (Houghton & Mifflin, $39.99 from Borders) is an in-depth investigation into the massive amount of power wielded by the fast-food industry.

Using statistics and concrete examples, conscientiously dug up from buried documents and secret memos, Schlosser's book is enough to make those who quaff copious amounts of soda and burgers to think twice about what they're putting into their bodies.

James Bramford's Body Of Secrets (Doubleday, $51.50 from Borders) blows the lid off the US National Security Agency, delving deeper into the territory uncovered in Bramford's 1982 best-seller, The Puzzle Palace.

The book's shocking revelations include President Eisenhower forcing his Cabinet officers to hide his involvement in the 1960 U2 crisis while under oath, and plans for secret acts of terrorism against their own country during the Kennedy years, so that the American public would support the war against Cuba.

In Singapore, this book is currently sold out, because shipments for such titles are usually small. Borders brought in about 10 copies of Body Of Secrets, and is currently awaiting a second delivery.

According to Quek Lingxiang, retail executive at Books Kinokuniya, IBM And The Holocaust and Fast Food Nation, two books with controversial subject matters, have been selling well.

The store brought in initially 50 copies of each title, and has been replenishing stocks regularly, with shipments of 10 to 20 books every week or two.

According to Gary Baddeley, publisher of You're Being Lied To (Disinformation, US$15.95, available from in both print and e-book), the first print run of 6,000 copies is ''just about gone'', and a second printing of 4,000 is due this month. The book is an anthology of articles by the likes of American dissident Noam Chomsky, which aims to cast doubt, if not throw light, on the myths perpetuated in the mainstream media.

The people behind both the website and book are understandably sceptical of the media: Launched in 1996, got its plug pulled just three weeks later, when the major media company funding it decided that backing the alternative news website's criticism of mass media being under the influence of government and big business was like shooting itself in the foot.

Russ Kick, editor of You're Being Lied To, said: ''It's no secret that mistrust of authority is growing, at least in the US, and I think that the bigger publishers are sensing that.

''They seem to be marketing them more aggressively, pushing them harder.''

One such book is IBM And The Holocaust, Edwin Black's expose of the Nazi's use of IBM punch-card technology to manage slave inventories and concentration camps.

Publisher Crown's decision to embargo the contents of the book led to the hype machine going into overdrive, and translated into magnificent sales for the 100,000 copies printed.

Responding to a suggestion that the appeal of exposes is similar to that of dirt-digging ''unauthorised'' biographies, slaking reader's thirst for scandal, Kick said: ''The crucial difference, though, is that dirt-digging biographies expose personal details - sexual adventures and addictions, for example - that really only affect the subject of the bio and those closest to him or her.

''Investigative journalism exposes misdeeds that affect large groups of people, sometimes an entire country or, in the case of things like nuclear weapons, the world.''

Another expose that has gotten good reviews are ''fearless investigative reporters'' Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber's Trust Us, We're Experts (Tarcher and Putnam, $48.69 at Kinokuniya).

Subtitled ''How Industry Manipulates Science And Gambles With Your Future'', the book uncovers and chronicles how public relations firms and media companies can be bought to give favourable testimonials on behalf of big business.

Perhaps, the interest in investigative-reporting books boils down to the new millennium's attitude of harnessing the power of information.

With the Internet, people are demanding that information should be easily available, and that the authorities should be transparent in their workings.

Augustine Pang, lecturer at NTU's School of Communications, said that he was not surprised that such books are popular.

What he wanted to know was whether the information within such books is really accurate.

''They are relying on materials that have just been released, on information recently made available. Today, everybody can contribute to this information flow, and everybody wants to be an author.

''The question is whether it is good information or bad.''

Good or bad, people's need for commercial and political truth will continue to make these books popular.

Heading: Humans Have Already Been ClonedSource: Wireless Flash News Service (Cookeville, TN), May 29, 2001Author: The Editors

Despite the experiment, many scientists still insist humans have never been cloned -- something Kick thinks is harmful to the public.

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (Wireless Flash) -- Have scientists already cloned a human being?

According to "disinformation" expert Russ Kick, editor of the new book "You Are Being Lied To" (Disinformation Books), a company called Advanced Cell Technology created a human clone in 1995.

The research firm deposited human cells into a cow's egg that had been stripped of all genetic material -- but the resulting human embryo was destroyed before it could reach full development.

Despite the experiment, many scientists still insist humans have never been cloned -- something Kick thinks is harmful to the public.

He says although a human child hasn't been born from a cloned embryo yet, it's important that people realize the technology exists and it's possible humans are being covertly cloned right now.


Heading: 'People Should Question Everything'Source: Project Eyeball (Singapore), May 14, 2001Interviewer: Clara Chow

It bothers me when I see or read a news story that I know is either false or lying by omission - millions of people seeing the same story are going to believe it completely.

Our reporter gets some truths out of Russ Kick, editor of You're Being Lied To.

What irks you the most about the modern media?

It bothers me when I see or read a news story that I know is either false or lying by omission - millions of people seeing the same story are going to believe it completely.

Another thing is that the huge amount of resources at the disposal of the mainstream media are often wasted on reporting fluff or recycled press releases.

Do you think a book like You're Being Lied To will be effective in getting people not to trust everything they read?

I'm sure it'll be effective to some degree. One reader e-mailed me, saying that he had just heard a story on MSNBC about some grave, new threat from hackers, but he was sceptical because he'd read how the government, corporations and the media create hacker scare stories.

Why should we believe what's said in You're Being Lied To?

People should question everything, including my book.

Any backlash yet from the corporations and government bodies written about in the book?

Not yet. The book has been out for less than two months, so it's still early.

What was it like working with big names such as American dissident Noam Chomsky?

I was surprised at how readily the most well-known contributors agreed to be in the book.

I thought many of them might not bother with a new publishing house that only pays a very small amount, but the fact that they did shows how principled they are.

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The views expressed above represent the writer and not necessarily those of The Disinformation Company Ltd.