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Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, And Destroy Democracy Paperback – November 1, 2006
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"If we want a media that matters again, we have to build it from the ground up. Nichols and McChesney point the way. Let’s act." —Jim Hightower
"Good fuel for progressive responses to the Fox cabal." —Kirkus Reviews
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Top Customer Reviews
For most of the history of the American republic there has existed a vibrant and diversified press. Most major cities had multiple daily newspapers reflecting a wide variety of opinion. Likewise most radio and television stations were locally owned and operated. In this environment the vast majority of these outlets were committed to covering local news and issues. Sadly in just the past quarter century all of this has changed dramatically. And as the authors passionately argue, no matter what your political persuasion, this is at the very least an unfortunate and at worst a potentially dangerous situation. At the beginning of Chapter 1 Nichols and McChesney quote Founding Father and former President James Madison who opined that "A popular Government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both.Read more ›
By allowing large conglomerates to buy up our communication media and monopolize the very avenues by which we learn about our government's policies and mishaps, the government/Big Business has assured itself of a propaganda machine. Better than Pravda at disguising the truth, ABC, NBC, CBS and of course, Fox are servile and willingly disguise the truth.
This book goes further and details the lack of money being spent on investigative journalism. They are simply stenographers to the Bush administration. I highgly reccommend this book, but be prepared to go elsewhere to get your news. YOu will never again trust the U.S. media for the truth. Not even PBS is giving it to us straight, or questioning their 'sources'.
From now on, it's LeMonde or Der Spiegel for me, and sometimes, the Washington Post!!!..just for comparison. But here's one good piece of news: You CAN trust the traffic and weather. Well, at least the traffic picture. Big Business (e.g., GE, Disney, et al) can't make money off lying about that.
While generally sympathetic to its conclusions, I was expecting a systematic examination of exactly what the title purported to promise, namely, "How the American Media Sell Wars..."
Instead what I got was a broad hodge-podge of sweeping statements that oftentimes read like a blog post -- of over two hundred pages.
The authors seem to realize this when at the conclusion of the critical 2nd Chapter titled "The Crisis in Journalism", they write:
"We concede that this has been a sweeping discussion of journalism, and we have had to use broad brush strokes. We believe our core argument survives more detailed examination, and it would certainly be qualified and enriched by more detail and nuance." (p.35)
This level of examination doesn't stop them in the very next chapter from "drawing upon the foundation laid in chapter 2" as if sweeping assertions in one chapter could support sweeping assertions in the next without ever having to come back down to planet earth to have a closer look.
The book is completely riddled with un-sourced and undocumented conclusions which you either agree with or not but which the authors simply announce without bothering to prove.
The situation in newsrooms "is not unlike the newsroom in Pravda or Tass in the old Soviet Union" (p.32). Media coverage of Colin Powell's speech at the UN "could not have been exceeded by Stalin's stooges" (p.59). While all of this sounds great, you're entitled to wonder in a book that places so much emphasis on journalistic standards what exactly the authors know about Pravda, Tass or "Stalin's stooges".
In sum, this isn't a book that's particularly strong from a journalistic or research standpoint.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The war is a tragedy and the media coverage of the 2004 presidential election was a farce. That is part of what Nichols and McChesney are telling us in this very readable and... Read morePublished on December 16, 2006 by Dennis Littrell
I thought this book would be more representative of the sensationalist reporting the media has been shoving down the throats of Americans for the last few years. Read morePublished on May 15, 2006 by elviswoman
Most of the previous reviews give a fairly accurate description of this book.
There is less hard news and more soft news now. Read more