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The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy Hardcover – May 18, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
The author, once notorious as a conservative attack-journalist trashing the likes of Anita Hill and the Clintons, repudiated his past in the confessional Blinded by the Right. In this blistering j'accuse, Brock mounts a less gossipy and more systematic assault on the right-wing media juggernaut of think tanks, publishers, talk radio shows, Web sites and cable networks. He treats it as a disciplined political movement, inspired by Communist subversion techniques, bankrolled by a handful of right-wing zillionaires through corporate and foundation spigots, tightly yoked to the Republican policy agenda and masterminded by arch-conservative Grover Norquist at weekly strategy meetings. By Brock's account, it constitutes a seamless propaganda machine conveying dubious scholarship, Republican talking points and antiliberal smear campaigns from think tanks and Internet rumor mills to the FOX News and talk radio echo chambers and thence through a network of conservative pundits into the quality press. Meanwhile, Brock charges, the mainstream media, cowed by spurious charges of "liberal bias," have abandoned their role as objective arbiters of truth in favor of an uncritical airing of partisan ideology in the name of "balance." The result, he says, is a public discourse in which the line between fact and opinion is blurred, poorly funded liberal voices get shouted down, "no issue can be honestly debated and no election can be fairly decided." Brock's critique echoes that of other liberal media critics like Eric Alterman and Al Franken, and cannot be accused of nonpartisanship. He is dismissive of the conservative nostrums whose purveyors he pillories, and his biting takedowns of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and their ilk show he hasn't lost his taste for blood. But Brock's incisive, well-supported analysis and his street cred as an apostate from the conservative press make this a spirited challenge to the contemporary mediascape
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“This is the most important book of the past ten years and mandatory reading for all who want to understand American politics and history.” —Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., author of Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy
“A spirited challenge to the contemporary mediascape.” —Publishers Weekly
“In clear prose, Brock shows convincingly how . . . the accusation of a liberal bias has been based on shabby research and nonexistent evidence.” —Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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A. Because the average person would never come to that conclusion on their own.
The honesty of a commentator should be self evident. On Limbaugh, Shakespeare might say, "I think thou dost protest too much". A writer once said about Ann Coulter's book `Treason', "The distain for the reader is hard to believe, but apparently well placed". Coulter could not possibly be so blatantly dishonest with her readers and have the slightest respect for them. Rush and Ann are just two examples of the Republican `Echo Chamber' that has grown over the last three decades.
The Republican Noise machine began when conservatives discovered that the wealthy and powerful were willing to pay big bucks to have their ideas polished and disseminated. The money was/is funneled into think tanks whose raison d'être is to parrot the views of their patrons. There is a misconception that think tanks are analysis groups when in actuality they're more like marketing firms with ideas as products. You can't possibly do acceptable analysis of a problem when you're working a priori. Unlike traditional marketing, which is generally recognizable as marketing, think tanks present their products to news sources as opinion pieces and often as legitimate analysis. When a viewer reads an article on the Fox News website about Global Warming it may well be written by an individual or think tank bankrolled by Exxon Mobile. How much cheaper is it for any news organization, right leaning or not to simply accept a prepackaged propaganda piece from the Heritage Foundation or Cato Institute and present it as a legitimate news item rather than do their own investigation?
Think tank writers may be correct in their opinions or they may be wrong but the viewer is almost assuredly misled. Steven Milloy is never going to include evidence supporting Global Warming because he's paid by big oil not that you'd know that by reading his articles. The one absolute in think tanks is ideological purity. It has to be a soul crushing experience to be compressed into such narrow thinking. The result is a consistent message that gets echoed through conservative news sources until it becomes conventional wisdom even among moderates. Even subtle details like specific emotion evoking buzz words are included in the taking points. The goal is to produce an all encompassing propaganda barrage that literally leaves society less informed.
Conservatives have no tradition of respect for freedom of speech or diversity of opinion and Fox news owner Rupert Murdoch and news director Roger Ailes are quite open about there disrespect for journalism. This creates a toxic combination that renders the news, at best, biased opinion pieces, at worst government propaganda. Fox News is blatantly biased because conservatives feel no need to be balanced. If you're convinced unequivocally that you have the absolute right answers and the right cause why bother giving equal or even marginal credence to other ideas. As the writer points out Fox news, as the prototype for future news casting, is literally destroying journalism which surely puts a smile on Murdoch's face.
This is a terrific book packed with tons of information. It's certainly not a feel good book but it is enlightening and I highly recommend it.
I think a lot of people will get hung up on the partisanship that is very thick in the book. The real issue is not so much what Conservatives are doing to advance the Conservative agenda, but that they these uber rich people are pulling the wool over the eyes of the american people. They are influencing public opinion with spin and lies. The degree to which we are misinformed about the goings on of government is the degree to which we forefit our liberty. It is interesting how the conservatives preach freedom and liberty while they take it away from us. It is much like saying the media has a "liberal bias." As David Brock reveals, the "liberal bias" line is to deflect attention from their own biases and journalistic lapses and as a rationale to justify their presence in the mainstream media conversation in the name of providing "balance" or "the other side." They are also deflecting our attention from the truth about government as they steal our liberty. In a country where the rallying cry of the Revolutionary War was "Give me Liberty or give me Death," it is ironic that we so passively allow our liberty to be taken from us now. Perhaps soon there will be another revolution. Will you join it when it comes?
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