Ryan Holiday’s Work “Trust Me I’m Lying” critical analysis

“Trust Me, I’m Lying” examines the economics of media practices and how news reports are distorted. This article would provide a critical review of the book based on the author’s responses to the following three questions: What factors contribute to the credibility of your book? Do you believe your readers can see other stories in the same way after reading this book? Is the problem of media exploitation still new?
“Trust me, I’m Lying” is a current source that was published in 2012 and has a clearly labeled copyright date (Holiday, 2012, p.6). As a result, the data is current and applicable to any research in the field of contemporary media. The information the book provides is also reliable since it is an in-depth analysis on the topic of media manipulation and deception. Holiday gives specific examples of media manipulation to make his topic clear to his audience that is the public. For instance, he explains how he deliberately leaked of a fake internal memo to bloggers during a lawsuit (Holiday, 2012, p.42). The book possesses authority considering that Holiday was a media manipulator and, thus, he is well conversant with the field. Furthermore, the information can be considered accurate since Holiday backs up his claims with multiple references. The purpose of writing the book was to inform readers on the varied means of media (Holiday, 2012, p.12). To this end, the book has passed the CRAAP test. I deem that Holiday has accomplished his purpose because as a reader, I am well conversant with the different tactics of media manipulation. His personal experiences make the topic more relevant.

The boosting of a seemingly minor issue, such as the ones described by Holiday is a falsehood. In his book, Ryan talks about bloggers who post stories without verifying whether the information is accurate (Holiday, 2012). In this case, the person feeding the bloggers, for instance, Holiday, is engaged in spreading lies. However, the bloggers themselves, who Ryan describes, engage in posting false information without any knowledge that they are lies. For example, Ryan reveals how he vandalized his own billboard, took a picture, and forwarded it to a blogger with a false identification (Holiday, 2012, p.9). By running this story, the blogger engaged in falsehood. There is no doubt that Holiday’s constant use of such examples affects his credibility with his audience. To some extent, he has weakened his credibility. Given the way that readers now interpret ‘fake news’, his audience may never look at his other news stories the same way.

To some extent, Holiday is not a whistleblower because he only sheds more light on an issue that a majority of the public is already aware of. Regardless, the book provides an amalgam of information about the media industry, specifically blogging. He provides an in-depth analysis that is quite informative considering that many people may not be conversant with the full extent of media manipulation. The fact that he provides personal experiences create a sense of Genuity in his intentions. For example, Holiday says, “When I want Gawker or other blogs to write about my clients I intentionally exploit their ambivalence about deceiving people” (Holiday, 2012, p.57). Such specific examples appeal to the audience making the issue of media manipulation more evident to an audience that was either oblivious to the issue or did not just give much thought to do something about it. “I manufacture a story for them, and we trade it up the chain… until the unreal becomes real” (Holiday, 2012, p.10). Such insights make the audience never to view news stories in the same manner as before. Therefore, as much as Holiday is not a whistleblower, he goes on to provide more information on the problem of media manipulation.

In conclusion “Trust me, I’m lying” is a credible source based on the CRAAP test. However, his expose on media manipulation has weakened the credibility of the information he provides. Considering that many people are aware of the problem of media manipulation, Holiday is not a whistleblower but instead provides in-depth information on the topic.


Holiday, R. (2012). Trust me, I’m lying: The confessions of a media manipulator. London, UK: Portfolio/Penguin.

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