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Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment Reprint Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195398601
ISBN-10: 0195398602
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this heavily researched analysis of the conservative media establishment, Jamieson and Cappella (coauthors of Spiral of Cynicism) contend that Rush Limbaugh, the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal and key players at Fox News share evidence, arguments and tactical approaches in their defense of conservatism and their attack on its opponents. The authors argue that these three news outlets disseminate Reagan-era conservatism by creating a common rogues' gallery of enemies, which they fight by forming an echo chamber—a bounded, enclosed media space that has the potential to both magnify the messages delivered within it and insulate them from rebuttal, turning audiences into a balkanized cohort. The authors take pains to note that they are not arguing that the conservative media menace the country's well-being; rather, they are interested in the way changing media influence contemporary electoral politics. Their highly academic approach and chart- and citation-laden narration might be slow and difficult reading for those unfamiliar with the social sciences. However, readers seeking a carefully researched view of the changing face of news media will be rewarded for their efforts. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review


"Readers seeking a carefully researched view of the changing face of news media will be rewarded for their efforts."--Publishers Weekly


"Fascinating, illuminating, fun--and also a little scary. Highly recommended, even indispensable, reading for anyone who wants a clear understanding of the current relationship between the media and democratic self-government."--Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard Law School and author of Republic.com 2.0


"Echo Chamber is powerful, original and an antidote to the 'swift-boating' that poisons our democracy. It is the latest in a series of groundbreaking studies in which Kathleen Hall Jamieson has revealed the inner workings and impact of the forces that shape public opinion and political outcomes in America. Now Jamieson and Joseph Cappella brilliantly pull back the curtain on the right-wing media imperium."--Bob Shrum, author of No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (January 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195398602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195398601
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.7 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #643,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Graham R. Scott on July 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The back-cover blurbs, title, chosen subject matter, cover art, and the use of scare quotes around terms like "liberal media" all contribute to an overwhelming but incorrect first impression: The book looks at first glance like a hand-wringing, liberal worryfest about how conservatives are ... well, talking. I'm a conservative, so I'll grant I'm a little sensitive to these things (just as liberals are sensitive to slander). However, I'm also a teacher and specialist in rhetoric, and quite interested in the rhetoric of opinion leaders like Limbaugh and Michael Moore.

So I read the book despite my initial cringe, and I have to say it's a sharp piece of analysis, fair to its subjects, balanced in its perspectives, and darned useful to those of us interested in studying or discussing the intersection of media, rhetoric, and politics. The authors approach the topic from the perspective of interested observers, rather than from a judgmental frame. They note at the start of their concluding chapter that they've probably disappointed both Left and Right readers, and I think that's a safe prediction. Unbalanced readers tend not to like balanced analysis. But I certainly appreciate it, as it's hard to come by, even when the authors are respected scholars. I'm sure I'll be citing this book in some of my future work.

The authors have, to my eye at least, accurately described the rhetorical strategies and effects of conservative, alternative media. The title alludes to the book's central conclusion, which is that these sorts of narrow-audience media use framing strategies that inoculate listeners and readers against alternative viewpoints, encouraging the audience to depend increasingly on the echo chamber while dismissing messages that seem to undermine the audience's philosophy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a professor of communications, Ms. Hall Jamieson clearly knows her stuff. Unfortunately, this book is written as more of upper level college textbook than popular non-fiction.

This nuanced book will appeal to serious readers. If you are looking for a 'liberals are good, conservatives are bad', book this isn't it.

Having said that, I found this book worth my time and effort.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Conservative politics have dominated the media for the past decade, and Echo Chamber will tell you how and why. If you want to understand the basics of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, and just what is holding the reins on American political discussion in the USA, read Echo Chamber.
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Format: Paperback
In `Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment,' authors Jamieson and Cappella take a much deeper and scientific approach to their study of the connection between Limbaugh, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal's editorial pages. Backed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, `Echo Chamber' is an exacting and through accounting of the detailed factors (framing, name calling, collusion) employed by the `conservative opinion media' to not only broadcast their message to a narrowly chosen demographic (white, older, southerners that make up the sweet spot of the GOP), but whose agenda actually reaches right into the heart of the Republican party to do everything in their power to either anoint, or deny political success to, candidates that pass their litmus test of Reagan conservatism (anti-regulation, gun rights, small government, anti-welfare, pro-life, etc.) Examples of those who have benefitted (Bush, Palin) as well those who have been attacked, or perhaps killed, politically for not being conservative enough (McCain, Huckabee.)

The missing piece in both books is the deep dive, where the authors look way under the hood at the true germination and funding of these messaging campaigns (lobbyists), the benefactors of the message (corporations) and the true innerworkings of the skunkworks who pull the strings on all of this (Frank Luntz, Dick Armey, RNC operatives, etc.) The opportunity here is for a new Woodward and Bernstein to emerge to get beyond the surface speakers of this movement and to reveal the real shadow players in this political agenda.

In other words, it's time for a new Deep Throat.
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The authors labored long and hard to create this one.
My complements to them.
Echo Chamber contains a lot of useful information for a researcher.
I don't recommend it for the casual reader.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Analyzing conservative political outlets (primarily the editorial/op ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh's radio show) is commendable, but Holy Moses, this is some seriously dry reading. The book should be applauded for taking the high road by truly trying to dissect and understand how these outlets function and the impact they have on listeners, viewers or readers. People looking for the authors to trash these demagogues are going to be sorely disappointed. In a bit of false advertising, the cover design's usage of harsh black-and-red attempts to connote an ominous conservative troika. Unless you are a political/media wonk or have been living deep in the recesses of the Amazon Forest for the past 25 years and have never heard of any of these people, you'll likely find this book pure drudgery. The writing does not even have a modicum of humor or pizzazz in its 250 pages. If you are an insomniac desperate for a cure, this baby may do the trick.
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