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The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy Hardcover – May 18, 2004

3.8 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (May 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400048753
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400048755
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alex Frantz on July 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Brock explores the history and structure of the right wing propaganda machine, and its impressive success in influencing mainstream media.
The book has two principal virtues: it goes into history, tracing the right from the Goldwater era, thereby including much valuable material not found in some similar volumes which focus more exclusively on events of the Clinton/Bush years. This gives the book a distinct and more thoughtful perspective. And it shows the endless interconnections of the various people and organizations discussed in substantial, occasionally numbing detail. By the time you finish this book, you will realize that Hillary's famous 'vast right wing conspiracy' is very real.
The main fault is that it is often overly partisan and indulges in some gratuitous attacks. For instance, Kevin Phillips is spoken of as being influenced by two obscure Italian writers I've never heard of, who Brock says were also major influences in Fascism. Offered without further elaboration, this amounts to nothing more than a cheap exercise in guilt by association.
Compared to the similar books by Franken and Conason, this one has, as I noted, more detail and more historical perspective. It isn't written as well, and certainly lacks the humor of Franken. It also focusses more on media and propaganda and has little exploration of issues and policies, except those, such as the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, that relate specifically to the media. (Perhaps the most comparable to this book would be the recent book by Alterman, which I haven't read.) Conason is far more interested in broad policy questions, while Franken's book, the most entertaining but a disorganized grab-bag, bounces unpredictably between media criticism, satire, and serious policy argument.
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Format: Hardcover
I got an advance copy of this book, having been an observer of Mr Brock's trajectory over the years. He has done an amazing service in this orderly, calm and utterly devastating history of the rise of the radical right's propaganda machine and its subversion of our nation's media. Brock begins at the beginning, with a treatise by a woman named Efron arguing that the GOP and business interests need their own distinct media. Efron gets Nixon's attention, Nixon tries to put Efron's plan into action, Nixon runs into the Watergate buzzsaw. But the seed is planted, back in the 1970's, and then cultivated by GOP activists like William Simon, financed heavily by Richard Mellon Scaife, Olin, Coors dynstasties etc. (who Brock calls the four sisters). Until the whole thing flowers: all of a sudden a huge battery of propaganda houses like Heritage and American Enterprise, funded by oil companies and GOP financiers, are churning out a counter history of the American experience. ANything counter to GOP orthodoxy is branded 'liberal'; Murdoch and Sun Myung Moon's media empires swiftly join the cause, whose committed purpose is to subdue America's independent media and convert it into service of corporate interests generally and GOP political figures specifically.
Throughout this book, which will be the standard text in colleges and for historians, Brock's tone is calm and steady and he lets the facts speak for themselves (very unlikehis earlier books, which are overly polemical -- duh). The research here is encyclopedic. (In a book about media, virtually every quote is on the record).
It is amazing to this reviewer how our media could have been so thoroughly corrupted.
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Format: Hardcover
No reasonable argument can really be presented against the now commonly held view that our country's media outlets were almost completely bought out a decade or so ago by the Right Wing. Millions upon millions of dollars have been spent by a small but powerful group of conservative-financed conglomerates in order to ensure that many of the nation's radio programs, periodicals, web sites and TV news programs continually spew unrelentingly shrill pro-Republican rhetoric all over us. Clear Channel alone owns over 1,200 radio stations across the country, each and every one of them gleefully twisting and manipulating news and opinion 24 hours a day for millions of listeners.

David Brock was once an extremely well paid shill for the Republican Party, and he knows first hand exactly what kind of dirty tricks are involved in the furtherance of their takeover of the media. Unlike most of his ilk, he became consumed by remorse for spreading the party line (via misinformation and downright lies). Having developed a true sense of morality and decency, Brock ultimately rejected the dark side forever. His superb book, BLINDED BY THE RIGHT, detailed his years as a propagandist and fully disclosed exactly what he saw and heard while within the conservative ranks that led to his conversion.

In THE REPUBLICAN NOISE MACHINE, Brock provides us with an insider's history of the extremely well financed movement that has deliberately and insidiously taken over our media. He compares the conservative media's use of relentless propaganda to Communist subversion activities. Ever wonder why every nonsensical anti-liberal rumor and innuendo makes it to the front page of your local newspaper?
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