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NEWSPEAK in the 21st Century Paperback – September 29, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"Regular critical analysis of the media, filling crucial gaps and correcting the distortions of ideological prisms, has never been more important. Media Lens has performed a major public service by carrying out this task with energy, insight, and care." --Noam Chomsky
"In telling us the unvarnished truth, Media Lens is the best thing to happen to the British media for as long as I can remember." --John Pilger
"Media Lens is doing an outstanding job of pressing the mainstream media to at least follow their own stated principles and meet their public service obligations. It is fun as well as enlightening to watch their representatives, while sometimes giving straightforward answers to queries, often getting flustered, angry, evasive, and sometimes mistating the facts. This won't change the media very much, but it will make them a bit more careful and honest, and it will help educate the public, which will have its own useful spinoff." --Edward S. Herman

About the Author

David Edwards is co-founder/co-editor of Media Lens ( for which he works full-time. He is author of Free to be Human (1995), The Compassionate Revolution (1998) and co-author of Guardians of Power: The Myth of the Liberal Media (Pluto, 2006). David Cromwell is co-founder / co-editor of Media Lens ( and a researcher at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. He is author of Private Planet (2001) and co-author of Guardians of Power: The Myth of the Liberal Media (Pluto, 2006). In 2002, he co-founded the Crisis Forum ( with fellow Southampton academic Mark Levene. Surviving Climate Change: The Struggle to Avert Global Catastrophe, edited by Cromwell and Levene, was published in 2007 by Pluto.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (October 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745328938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745328935
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,657,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. D. Welsh on April 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
David Edwards and David Cromwell, the authors of this book, are the editors of Media Lens, a small UK-based organisation set up to show up and combat the systematic biases of the corporate media. Media Lens, in their words, is "a response based on our conviction that mainstream newspapers and broadcasters provide a profoundly distorted picture of our world". You can find out more at the Media Lens Web site. Warning! If you dislike or distrust Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, or Michael Moore, you may also find you dislike this book - because its authors tend to be in sympathy with those three and others of similar viewpoint. But this is less because the authors have any pronounced left wing leaning themselves than because those particular writers are representative of opinions routinely "screened out" by the establishment media.

While "Newspeak" contains a wealth of examples cited in detail, its main thesis is that the picture of the world most of us get from the standard corporate media - newspapers, radio, TV, etc. - is filtered, prejudiced, and to a considerable extent untruthful. The authors quote former Guardian editor C. P. Scott's famous dictum, "Comment is free, but facts are sacred", and explain why it is "as naive as it is misleading". Facts, after all, have to be selected before they are offered up as news. "To choose 'this' fact over 'that' fact is already to express an opinion. To highlight 'this' fact over 'that' fact is to comment". (Compare, for example, the lengthy and emotional reporting of a single US or British soldier's death in Iraq or Afghanistan to the way the killing of dozens of civilians is routinely ignored). This crucial insight is quite similar to that which lies at the core of Steven Poole's equally good book, "Unspeak".
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Format: Paperback
Know your enemy: see through news manipulation, on screen and in newspapers.
Great book, many fine articles by *real* journalists.

This mighty book looks at well known US and British journalists, and at their newspapers, at their TV news networks, and news stations, peeling back the layers to find their control-sources, the 'news' filtering cartels, parts of multinationals that indirectly influence and filter the news their journalists speak or write about; to distort truth in favor of a version of the truth that serves neither you nor I; that serves only the political or business ends of their private interests.

The book uses well-known US and GB television news personalities' dismissals - key anchor-men and -women, like former MSNBC star Phil Donahue, dismissed for asking awkward questions about Bush's war on Iraq (much like CNN's own star, Dan Rather!) and Katie Couric and Jessica Yellin, both pressured by NBC bosses to drop stories and shut-up; and newspaper journalists' firings or gaggings, like that of Martin Tierney of Saturday Herald, for simply reviewing a book, "Going to Extremes" by the author of This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation, Barbara Ehrenreich ... to name but a few!

The authors also pursue TV journalists who follow the corporate line, and relentlessly pursue their reasons for spouting risible propaganda on behalf of Downing Street or The Whitehouse, notably The BBC's Andrew Marr and Channel 4 TV's news anchor Jon Snow, men who came to the top of their field presenting themselves as balanced and fair journalists. This book shows they are anything but ... and its pages are crammed full of evidence!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on June 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a brilliant study of Britain's media and their general support for the ruling class. The authors David Edwards and David Cromwell are two co-editors of MediaLens [...] which carries regular analysis of the media.

Chapters cover the fiction of BBC balance; the climate change debate; the Downing Street memo on Iraq's (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction; the media rubbishing of the 2004 and 2006 Lancet reports into the numbers of Iraqi deaths; the bombings in Britain, Spain and Iraq; Israel and Palestine; targeting Iran; the allegations of Iranian interference in Iraq; Venezuela and the media lies about Hugo Chavez; behind the scenes at the Independent and the Guardian; the practices of snarls and smears; and the need for honest journalism.

Edwards and Cromwell note the article by Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy and Les Roberts, Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey, Lancet, 2006, 368, 9545, pages 1421-8. They describe the media's treatment of this peer-reviewed article as `the most shocking and outrageous example of media servility to power we have yet seen'.

They note that the US war of aggression against Vietnam killed 3.8 million people [...], wounded 4.4 million and harmed 2 million with toxic chemicals.

They note that the question, `What can we do about it all?' all too often means, `Tell me something that's quick and easy, or I won't bother.'
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No person who claims to be educated can do so without having read and absorbed this book. Edwards and Cromwell describe the deliberately misleading pablum which the mainstream media serve up to our "educated masses" on a daily basis in an effort to mold public opinion to support endless wars for the benefit of the military-industrial complex of the US, Britain and Israel. Satanizing Muslims as terrorists while ignoring far greater crimes by Western governments is the stock in trade of the NY Times, WaPo, Guardian and others. It really is Orwell's 1984.
Buy this book and subscribe and contribute to "Media Lens" online to stay current on manipulation by media. The other great website is Alison Weir's "If Americans Knew.....".
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