Outliars: A Discourse Guide to Fact Checking and Click Baiting
Outliars explores how click-friendly headlines during the previous administration negotiated the fact of lying. In this book, lies are considered as data. The title is based on the statistical term "outliers" but modified to also mean the "calling out of liars."
Using source material from a twenty-eight year archive of The New York Times, the book's charts and diagrams illustrate the volume of coverage that Trump received compared to previous administrations. This dramatic increase in coverage coincides with the influence of technologies such as search engine optimization and headline A/B testing. The book explores how these techniques can result in the newsroom spreading misinformation.
In an attempt to convert this collection of data into an automated lie detector, headlines are annotated. These labels highlight keywords and punctuation that are commonly combined where truth is in doubt.
Outliars highlights the futility of calling out lies in the age of “hedgy headlines.” Showing how deceptive narratives are spread, this book empowers readers to filter out the noise of our information landscape. For newsrooms not willing to call out a lie directly, it is best for them to leave the liar out of coverage all together.