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Framed!: Labor and the Corporate Media (Ilr Press Books) Paperback – November 21, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
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.
"Framed! raises significant questions for journalists, and not just in terms of how they do their jobs. To what extent, for example, are Guild-represented reporters handicapped―as trade unionists―by the frames through which they view the world as journalists' Can those who accept a consumer perspective ever see themselves as engaged in class struggle?"―Andy Zipers, The Guild Reporter, January 23, 2004
"Framed! points out that news organizations place coverage of labor, like many other stories, in narrative frames that at the same time help to explain an issue and exclude alternative explanations."―James Boylan, Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 2004
"This volume joins the growing collection of carefully documented studies that demolish the myth of liberal media bias promulgated by the radical Right. . . . Martin carefully details the way in which the news media use negative framing in reporting stories about labor in general and organized labor in particular."―Choice 41:10, June 2004
"Christopher R. Martin lays bare the presumptions and preferences of an industry whose bottom line has become the bottom line."―Bill Knight, The Labor Paper 108:10, May 20, 2004
"As wages stagnate or decline while executive compensation rises, unions can make a stirring case that their members need a 'living wage' to become respectable consumers (aka readers and viewers). . . . The media is hardly management's enemy. But if company skirmishes become class warfare, it may become so."―John T. Landry, Harvard Business Review, April 2004
"Christopher R. Martin transcends the tired debate over media 'bias' by asking a more fundamental question: Are we to be a nation of citizens or consumers? His Framed! Labor and the Corporate Media shows how meaningful labor issues are transformed into a peculiar pseudo-plebian democratic consumerism that substitutes for both news and legitimate political opinion. Any real questions about the larger process of production or the working of the economy (let alone justice) seem to magically ricochet off the media's boilerplate understanding of the United States as a consumer's democracy. Martin's analysis is deft, his interpretations are sound, and his message is important."―Jefferson Cowie, Cornell University
"This is a thorough and insightful study of how the mainstream U.S. news media incorporate the premises of globalization into their coverage of labor. Christopher R. Martin analyzes how transnational capital's emerging values have come to underlie the news, from the Reagan administration's antiunion policies to the present. Sensitive to issues of race, gender and social class, Martin develops a powerful critique of the media's increasing marginalization and trivialization of organized labor. Framed! makes a strong contribution to research on political power and popular culture, as well as providing an excellent foundation for further research."―William S. Solomon, Rutgers University
"Coverage of the working class and labor issues may well be the weakest and most appalling aspect of the U.S. news media. It puts the lie to the notion that the United States enjoys an objective press that is politically neutral; in fact it is a press entirely subservient to big business and commercial interests. Christopher R. Martin has written a highly accessible and timely overview that provides historical depth as well as detailed case studies of recent episodes in media coverage of strikes. I recommend Framed! Labor and the Corporate Media to all citizens concerned about the prospects for democracy in this nation."―Robert W. McChesney, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"Christopher Martin's case studies provide compelling evidence of the systematic antilabor bias of the corporate media. His analysis of the media's framing process that focuses on consumer effects, rather than workplace and citizen issues in labor-management strife, is persuasive and enlightening."―Edward S. Herman, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Top Customer Reviews
Reviewed by David Swanson
May 27, 2004
I didn't need to be told that the corporate media do a horrendous job of covering organized labor. What this book tells us that I have not seen analyzed so well elsewhere is what the thought processes look like that lead to this horrendous coverage.
It's simple enough to observe that the media support capital and work against the concerns of workers. But why are there exceptions to this rule? And what are the thoughts going through a producer's head? I am certain that few producers or editors routinely think to themselves "Hey, here's a good way we can hurt workers." It would hurt the members of the media themselves too much to think such thoughts. What do they think instead?
According to Christopher Martin, five main themes organize their thinking. The first is that the consumer is king. The media are able to cover labor disputes without touching on the workers' demands or difficulties and while blaming labor unions, through the simple guise of viewing all events from the point of view of the consumer. For example, more attention is paid to tourists' travel delays than to the reasons airline employees have for going on strike. And through the "objective" technique of quoting "both sides" without commenting on the accuracy of the claims, the media often manage to distort the facts, even though that is not what they think of themselves as aiming to do. The direction in which they distort the facts is effected by the second and third themes.
The second theme is that the process of production is none of the public's business.Read more ›