A lot of big-shot journalists didn't like this book, a systematic jeremiad about the current sad state of American political journalism. For instance, both the New York Times
op-ed page and the New Yorker
took pains to excoriate the book and its author--pretty good hints that Fallows is onto something. His point is that greed and intellectual sloth have fostered a political media elite that increasingly focuses on spin and ignores substance at the very time when solving the country's real problems requires all possible nuance.
From Publishers Weekly
Fallows's rousing jeremiad is an important beacon for everyone concerned about the news media's poor performance in helping the public make sane choices about the way we live, work and govern. The Atlantic Monthly's Washington editor argues that growing bottom-line pressure?on newspapers struggling to survive, and on TV newscasters for ratings?has made reporting a cynical game increasingly dominated by image over substance and by overpaid star reporters. Domestic news coverage, instead of helping people to understand, cope with and even control events that affect them, focuses on scandal, spectacle and political squabbles. Reporters, says Fallows, display a strong if unconscious bias in favor of the rich and well-off over the have-nots. News coverage of international affairs, in his estimate, is riddled with projections of American concerns and assumptions. Fallows, himself a frequent guest on shows like Meet the Press and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, blasts TV talk shows and the lecture circuit, which, in his opinion, breed polarization and overstatement while trivializing the issues. He closes with a look at the "public journalism" movement, led by Wichita Eagle editor Davis Merritt and New York University communications scholar Jay Rosen, whose goal is to reconnect people to the public life of their communities. Buttressed by a wealth of examples, Fallows's points are well taken. First serial to Atlantic; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.