From Publishers Weekly
In a book likely to spark controversy, and with the relentlessness of a prosecutor, McGowan (Only Man Is Vile: The Tragedy of Sri Lanka), a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, presents case after case in which, he contends, reporters and editors got stories wrong or ignored topics worthy of coverage because of their liberal ideologies and their fear of offending African-Americans, gays or feminists. (In many cases, he says, the journalists later admitted their own timidity.) Both in hiring practices and story coverage, multicultural journalism is "oversimplifying complicated issues" and "undermining the spirit of public cooperation and trust," McGowan writes. On race, he points to what he calls "soft" coverage of Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry and Rev. Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March. But some of his arguments are inflammatory. Lumping "Gay and Feminist Issues" together in one chapter, he compares the coverage of the Matthew Shepard murder and that of another murder by two gay pedophiles in light of what he calls "the sanctity of the gays-as-victims script." McGowan also cites biases in reporting on the abortion issue, attributing them to the fact that over 80% of journalists surveyed say they are pro-choice. Detractors will note that journalists rarely cover issues without biases, and that it's unlikely that journalists of the past covered most causes including the 1960s struggle for civil rights that McGowan holds up as a model for race relations in the United States with the objectivity he trumpets. Skeptics of multiculturalism will love this book, and lefties will love to hate it. (Nov. 15)Forecast: Encounter Books knows how to reach its conservative audience. More generally, this will generate controversy among media mavens.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
McGowan, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contends that the drive for diversity in the newsroom has resulted in shoddy journalism. He has compiled an impressive array of anecdotal evidence, but his litany of journalistic negligence includes such questionable examples as the promotion of safe sex for everyone (not just gay males) and use of the term anti-abortion instead of pro-life. Claiming that news outlets are so out of touch with mainstream thought as to have alienated most people (he blames pro-diversity reporting for the rise of talk radio), McGowan betrays his own ideology when he refers to the "outdated paradigm of white oppression" and repeatedly uses the value-laden term illegitimacy for out-of-wedlock births. News reporting has always reflected the opinions of those who produce it; a more illuminating study would have delved deeper into the reasons for the predominance of liberal views. Still, the points raised about the dangers of ethnic and cultural cheerleading in the newsroom make this an important book for journalism collections. Susan M. Colowick, North Olympic Lib. Syst., Port Angeles, WA
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Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.