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The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them Paperback – March 30, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Journalist and radio host Goodman brings her hard-hitting, no-holds-barred brand of reporting to an array of human rights, government accountability and media responsibility issues, and the result is bracing and timely. Goodman isn't about to let anyone slide by with easy explanations, not even then President Clinton when he called in on her daily Pacifica news show. And she is fierce and tireless in her commitment to dig behind official versions of the facts to get to very different stories. Her analysis of Iraq War contracts won by certain key Bush campaign donors will open many eyes, not only with its neat comparison of donation amount with contract value but also with its bold presentation of "Crony Connections." A gadfly's life in these turbulent times is neither restful nor boring, and Goodman's perspective on events like genocidal massacres in East Timor and mainstream coverage of the Jessica Lynch rescue is both important and alarming. Instances in which newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post have published stories based on leaked reports from unnamed government sources only to have to retract the stories later as being unfounded allow Goodman to argue that sophisticated news management techniques of spin, disinformation and controlled access to sources are undermining the reliability of media reporting. How, she asks, could journalists "embedded" with U.S. troops in Iraq be objective reporters of all that was occurring there, and whose interests were being served? These and other provocative questions power Goodman's stirring call for a democratic media serving a democratic society.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Goodman's high-octane blend of investigative journalism and political activism has been the force behind Pacifica radio's Democracy Now!, earning her praise and vitriol alike (not to mention nearly getting her killed by Indonesians in East Timor). Her first book, coauthored with her brother, David, recounts some of her most hard-hitting confrontations with corporate types and politicos of all persuasions, covering much of the same territory as other anti-Bush books and then some, at a compelling, breathless pace. Her real target, however, is not the oil-defense-politics Establishment, but their enablers, the media, which are cowed less by their corporate owners than by their own capacity for self-censorship in the guise of patriotism. NPR listeners, New York Times readers, you're not off the hook; Goodman is just as frustrated with your news outlets' silence when it comes to dead Iraqi civilians and antiwar viewpoints. Although her suggestions for how, exactly, to infuse media with integrity are perhaps quieter than her condemnations of hypocrisy, Goodman's vision for media's role in society is as vigorous as her confidence in the power of motivated communities. Brendan Driscoll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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The Exception to the Rulers is divided into 18 chapters and an introduction entitled "The Silenced Majority," in which Goodman describes the responsibility of a journalist as "going to where the silence is: giving voice to the forgotten, forsaken, and beaten down by the powerful." She provides rich analysis and chilling illustrations of big government's collaboration with media conglomerates to deceive the public and create sanitizing images and information - "weapons of mass deception" - about the war in Iraq. Goodman makes a strong case for the need for alternative sources of information to counter a handful of major corporations that are raising our children through their stranglehold on the media.
Recently at North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center, the children's mental health agency where I work, we surveyed over 1000 high school students across Long Island, NY. A vast majority said that television was their number one source of news and information and an almost equal number said that it was a most reliable source. Yet, over half said that they do not trust the government to do the right thing most of the time and see politicians as the group that they least admire. The survey results offer a window on the influence of television absent a deep understanding of who decides what airs in what manner and for what reasons.
Goodman illustrates one deceptive strategy that she calls the "classic disinformation two-step." In this case it was used to justify the decision to wage war on Iraq. Here is how she describes it on pages 138-139: "The White House leaks a lie to the New York Times, the newspaper publishes it as an expose, then the White House conveniently masquerades behind the credibility of the Times..." On September 8, 2002, NY Times reporters Michael Gordon and Judith Miller reported, "Iraq stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and had embarked on a worldwide search for material to make an atomic bomb." The day that the Times ran the story Vice President Cheney went on the TV talk circuit and said that "Iraq purchased aluminum tubes to make enriched uranium" and then attributed the story to the Times. Soon thereafter President Bush referred to this as a "first sign of a smoking gun."
The Exception to the Rulers is an eye-opener. It offers a journalistic window that we are not accustomed to day-to-day. I recommend that you read this book. You may disagree with its analyses of domestic and world events. You may think that it is nothing more than some crackpot conspiracy theory. But, I think it will be hard to walk away from this book without a greater understanding of the need to have alternative sources of information to counter what we are spoon fed on a daily basis by corporate media.
I learned many big names by this book: Mr. George Walker Bush, Mr. Salvador Allende, Mr. Henry Kissinger, Mr.Bob Kerry, Mr. Newt Gingrich, and so on.
I strongly recommend you this book to know interesting/shocking information for our lives.
She speaks truth to power from the FCC to the WTO to the corporate media. She asks the hard questions and holds the bar high, regardless of party or office. She is critical of Clinton as well as Bush. Being critical is her job and she does it well. Mostly, she is a Jimmy Stewart idealist, a "small d" democrat who fights tirelessly, demanding that our country fulfill its promise.
Ms. Goodman is a dedicated, fearless researcher of the truth and works tirelessly to inform of the treachery of Traitors in High places in this country and throughout the world.
Granted, I am not a journalistic reviewer and the positive words of praise left by others here will speak more elequently than I, but as a citizen who works for change in this country, I highly recommend this enlightening book on The Exception to the Rulers. Thanks to Amy, Pacifica and to Dish Network for broadcasting FSTV information to the many who cannot find responsible media in this country.
The book was extremely informative, but I would expect nothing less from Amy Goodman. What surprised me was how warm the book was. While reading it, I felt as if I was riding on a bus or train with Amy Goodman and we were engaged in the most interesting and congenial conversation that I've ever had.