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Media Mythmakers: How Journalists, Activists, and Advertisers Mislead Us Hardcover – October 1, 2003

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Media Mythmakers: How Journalists, Activists, and Advertisers Mislead Us + Hoaxes, Myths, and Mayhem: Why We Need Critical Thinking
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591020727
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591020721
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,892,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...a provocative, well-researched an apt overview of many of the problems facing modern society." -- Oakland Press/Pontiac, MI, Jan. 4, 2004

"...offers hundreds of examples of deceptive practices in journalism, advertising, political activism, public relations, and charity appeals." -- The Futurist, January-February 2004

"Many editors and TV news directors will find it uncomfortably close to the truth… it is unsparing in its criticism." -- Sacramento Bee, December 2003

"Should be required reading …peels away myths and provides the facts. Should be on every library shelf. Essential." -- Current Review for Academic Libraries April 2004

From the Inside Flap

As the lines between advertising, news, and entertainment blur, the ideal of an informed citizenry becomes harder and harder to achieve. We, the American public, aren't sure what to believe, or where to put our money and trust. We know we're being manipulated, misled, and outright lied to by those who seek our support. Whether it comes from advertisers, activists, or the government, the manipulation is constant and pervasive.

Those who are supposed to help us understand the world and the problems we face frequently fail us. Journalists and the news media offer entertainment and sensationalism instead of significant information. Politicians and lawmakers who guide the country are little better; instead of real solutions, we are offereed merely the illusion of progress.

This hard-hitting critique of our media culture examines not only the ways in which we are deceived, but the media's role in propagating these deceptions. But MEDIA MYTHMAKERS goes beyond criticism to give concrete examples of the damage caused by manipulation of the news. From missing children to the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, from efforts to end slavery in other countries to AIDS education, myths and deception in the media threaten us all. While the public is being misled, real problems go unaddressed and resources are wasted on misguided ideas.

In an increasingly complex world, where accurate and unbiased information is more important than ever, MEDIA MYTHMAKERS provides a timely and much-needed analysis.

More About the Author

Benjamin Radford is managing editor of "Skeptical Inquirer" science magazine and a Research Fellow with the non-profit educational organization the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He has written hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics, including urban legends, the paranormal, critical thinking, and science literacy.

He is author of five books: "Hoaxes, Myths, and Manias: Why We Need Critical Thinking" (with Bob Bartholomew); "Media Mythmakers: How Journalists, Activists, and Advertisers Mislead Us"; "Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures" (with Joe Nickell); "Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries"; and "Tracking the Vampire: Chupacabra in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore" (out in 2011 from the University of New Mexico Press).

Radford is a regular columnist for, Discovery News, and Skeptical Inquirer magazine. Radford created Playing Gods: The Board Game of Divine Domination, the world's first satirical board game of religious warfare. He is also a filmmaker, and released two short films: Clicker Clatter (2007), and Sirens (2009).

Radford is one of the world's few science-based paranormal investigators, and has done first-hand research into mysterious phenomena including psychics, ghosts and haunted houses; exorcisms, miracles, Bigfoot, stigmata, lake monsters, UFO sightings, reincarnation, and crop circles, and many other topics. He is perhaps best known for solving the mysteries of the Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost in 2007, and the Hispanic vampire el chupacabra in 2010.

Radford has appeared on the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the Learning Channel, CBC, CBS, BBC, CNN, and other networks with three letters. He also served as a consultant for the MTV series The Big Urban Myth Show and an episode of the CBS crime drama CSI. Radford has appeared in publications including the Wall Street Journal, Wired, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Ladies' Home Journal.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D.J. Grothe on November 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The fourth estate is supposed to expose nonsense in the public interest, but in this book, Radford exposes how the media itself purveys nonsense, betraying its contract with the American people.

Should be required reading for everyone -- arms you with the weapons you need to defend yourself from the daily onslought of error, half-truth, and ratings-pandering fake news.

There are hundreds of examples in this well-researched book of how the media distorts facts and displays its bias (not liberal or conservative, per se, but a coporate bias that panders to viewers who want spectacle, not facts).

Not since Neil Postman has there been a media critic who is so on the side of the critical thinker and so incisive in his critiques of the power of the media.

Highly recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Emily on June 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have to be honest, I don't watch a lot of news programs. I don't watch my local news nor the endless parade of talking heads that work the 24 hour news desk on any of the big cable news channels. There is a good reason for this . . .I was able to recognize much of what Ben Radford mentions in his book - cross pollination of products and their producers, advertising disguised as news, and that not all experts are as objective as they should be.
While Ben writes about the problems in the journalism and advertising trades, there is also the suggestion that the integrity and objectivity we desrve from the media at large will only be offered if we demand it.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Megan Connors on October 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is a real eye opener to the truth behind the media's myths. Radford comes at everyday events, from 9/11/01 to mundane product advertising, at an angle that most of us never even considered. Communications and Media Majors will certainly appreciate his fresh takes on things that the public has become oblivious to. I highly recommend this entertaining and informative book to anyone who watches the 6 O Clock news!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
By far one of the most useful books to be published in recent years, Media Mythmakers provides essential information that all people, especially those living within the USA, should arm themselves with.
The media is a powerful force in our lives - in our thoughts, our beliefs and most importantly, our actions. Radford examines this force with a critical and objective eye, dissecting its elements and penetrating the motivations, meanings, and effects it has upon civilization. Even the most cynical reader may be horrified by what Radford uncovers. Fascinating examples are provided throughout this well-written book. Best of all, however, are the realistic solutions for change.
As an editor, Radford is more than qualified to examine this realm and he does so with great skill. I was happy to discover that the book was extraordinarily well organized and written. I can see it used as a basis for many high school and university courses in journalism, communication and critical thinking. In an improved world, it might also be used by activists, media professionals, decision-makers, politicians - even concerned parents and students of life.
The reader is left with a media literacy that will serve them well throughout life and is necessary in our time. I highly recommend this book to one and all.
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