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Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media Paperback – October 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Polipoint Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097606216X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976062165
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,523,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Television news is so bad, says Cohen, the founder of progressive media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), that "Walter Cronkite would have big trouble getting a job today in TV news." Thus, the wry media critic kicks off this excellent, high-energy look back at his trials and tribulations at CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Though opinionated and incisive, Cohen's memoir is not the confession of a tortured progressive; Cohen freely admits to being a "telebimbo" and a "well-paid party to the feeding frenzy." In 1987, Cohen began a stint as a guest on CNN's Crossfire, representing FAIR and progressive concerns; before he knows it, he's an enthusiastic member of the media "kakistocracy," the "rule of the worst." Doing battle with conservative gadflies Pat Buchanan, Robert Novak and others proves exhilarating, but a disturbing trend of "genuflecting to the political right" leads CNN executives to replace Crossfire co-host Michael Kinsley with two Democratic centrists. Surprisingly, Cohen finds punditry nirvana as a panelist on Fox News Channel's News Watch, "the smartest and most balanced show on Fox and perhaps anywhere in cable news." At the behest of Phil Donahue, Cohen moves to MSNBC, where the handwriting is literally on the wall: at network headquarters, posters celebrate news coverage "highlights" like the death of Princess Diana and the Columbine shootings. Though he chides himself and his colleagues repeatedly for ignoring real news in favor of sensationalism ("Nuclear tensions rise; we talk sex on Fox"), Cohen's willingness to mire himself in the swamp of infotainment amply mirrors the situation of viewers drawn into the cable news runaround, doomed to get their news from "three dogs chasing each other's tails to the right."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Jim Hightower is a syndicated columnist, national radio commentator, the publisher of the Hightower Lowdown newsletter, and the New York Times bestselling author of Thieves in High Places. Susan Demarco is a writer, former radio talk-show host, public-interest activist, and longtime Hightower partner-in-crime.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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And I can tell he does as the "right" despises him!
Amazon Customer
Jeff Cohen's new book Cable News Confidential offers readers a rare behind the scenes look at the 24 hour cable news world.
Jeffrey H. Pierson
Some good anecdotes and references, and kept the story going at a good pace.
K. G. Soto

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey H. Pierson on October 6, 2006
Jeff Cohen's new book Cable News Confidential offers readers a rare behind the scenes look at the 24 hour cable news world. Cohen describes his experiences at CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. He offers many personal stories, which were always engaging and often quite humorous. They painted a clear picture of how conservatives control and frame the news we see on cable. While I have read many other books on this subject, I have never seen a book that offers as many crisp, clear examples of the way today's cable news industry operates.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the news media, politics, or the future of our country.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 19, 2008
Jeff Cohen, founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) had some faith in the budding, at the time, cable news. It was, he felt, a phenomenon that could take the place of that joke which we colloquially refer to as TV news. He was surprised.

As a little background, I won't allow television news on in my house. Long, long ago I was a television addict; that's what I used to keep myself occupied in my lonely days in high school. However, the summer before I was a senior in high school I was in a nearly fatal automobile accident which kept me in the hospital for some time. While there, I had little to do but watch television. Like a bad hangover can cure a potential drunk, being forced to watch the idiot box convinced me that the television is an idiot's medium. So I've sworn off it.

In Cohen's case, he was an ACLU attorney. He was disillusioned with what he saw as a right-leaning medium. When "cable news" came about, CNN, the pioneer, offered him a job.

Now, I don't want to go into details of Cohen's life then. Read the book if you want to find out about that. But he opened my eyes to a few things. First of all, while I've never been a CNN fan, it seemed better that Faux. ANYTHING is better than Faux, right? That's why I was surprised that Faux was not first on Cohen's list. But Cohen admits early in the book that Faux didn't start the rightward swing, but the pioneer, CNN did. Cohen pointed out that all his tenure at CNN consisted of was the shouting matches. It's drama so it sells...

The 2nd section of the book is on Faux, for which Cohen worked for 5 years. (!) His witty descriptions of his time there include, of course, his run-ins with o'leilly.
Read more ›
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Richard L. Reinoehl on November 10, 2006
An excellent insight into the inner workings of cable news. I had no prior understanding of the increadable bias that exists on cable TV news. I highly recomment this book!!!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Zaine Ridling on April 23, 2007
A big thanks to Jeff Cohen for confirming that I'm not crazy. He "found inside cable news was a drunken exuberance for sex, crime and celebrity stories, matched by a grim timidity and fear of offending the powers-that-be -- especially if the powers-that-be are conservatives. The biggest fear is of doing anything that could get you, or your network, accused of being liberal." If you keep in mind, it's not news (never was), then it makes it easier to swallow. After reading Cohen's account, you realize that Walter Conkrite would never get hired today in the face of fools like Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity, and Biff O'Really.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hunt on March 4, 2007
I really enjoyed reading this book, and highly recommend it to everyone...especially people who don't really understand what a joke this all is..and how it became to be such a complete farce and and absolute threat to Democracy and so many other things sane human beings 'round these parts cherish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Serrano on July 6, 2009
This is an important addition to the equivalent of taking the red pill in The Matrix. Take this and a little Noam Chomsky and you will develop a healthy skepticism about what passes for our fourth estate. You might also get an idea why we can't seem to get our $#!t together. Then again ignorance is bliss, right?
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