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Trust Us We're Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with Your Future Paperback – January 14, 2002
"The Best 'Worst President'" by Mark Hannah and Bob Staake
A noted political commentator and renowned New Yorker illustrator team up to give Barack Obama the victory lap he deserves. Learn more
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Rampton and Stauber introduce the movers and shakers of the PR industry, from the "risk communicators" (whose job is to downplay all risks) and "outrage managers" (with their four strategies--deflect, defer, dismiss, or defeat) to those who specialize in "public policy intelligence" (spying on opponents). Evidently, these elaborate PR campaigns are created for our own good. According to public relations philosophers, the public reacts emotionally to topics related to health and safety and is incapable of holding rational discourse. Needless to say, Rampton and Stauber find these views rather antidemocratic and intend to pull back the curtain to reveal the real wizard in Oz. This is one wake-up call that's hard to resist. --Lesley Reed --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
While "Toxic Sludge is Good for You" by the same authors was a fine book, this is somewhat of an evolution. It's even better.
So, let's see, you may have been impressed with the findings of a study that has been in all the major daily newspapers and network news. After all, the findings were applauded by the Association for Warm Cuddly Chemicals, they were endorsed by your favorite authors, and, after all, what would we do without the wonderful products available that were the subject of the study?
What the trusty newspapers and networks didn't tell you is that the aforementioned association--the list of such front organizations will boggle your mind--is a front for the manufacturers of the chemicals making up the product they're endorsing, and the "study" written up by professional PR flacks. (I took a writing course six years ago in which the instructor, who claimed to be well-informed, was astonished when I told her the percentage of column inches in the most well-read newspapers in the US have been composed by PR "professionals.")
As the structure of a text means a lot to me, this is one I endorse on that ground too. It starts with a history of the public relations industry. Of course, Edward Bernays--an old New Deal liberal, incidentally--was PR's patron saint.
The authors dissect the PR process brilliantly. For instance, PR professionals have their consultants to call upon. I was amazed and amused by the process our favorite software manufacturer used to minimize the allegations of monopoly. One of the "consultants" called upon was a former Supreme Court nominee who has vigorously argued against antitrust laws.Read more ›
That quibble aside, Stauber and Rampton attempt to demonstrate, primarily through pattern recognition, how easy it is to see through PR-motivated lies and hucksterism if we simply know what to look for. Uncomfortably cozy relationships with "independent" third parties are an obvious example, as is a tendency to divert attention from the credibility of the statement to the credibility of who makes the statement. In fact, an elementary knowledge of the rules of formal debate are well rewarded in reading this book, since you quickly discover that, if an "expert" is defying these rules, that expert is probably trying to take you to the cleaners.
The book is patently left-leaning. The authors are idealistic about human nature, for example, believing people would do the greatest good for the greatest number if they knew how to do it. The authors also appear to believe that government regulation is the necessary answer to inevitable government excess. This seems awfully naïve in its sheer repetition at times. In Chapter Nine, the concession is briefly made that "public advocacy" groups will sometimes distort facts and figures to achieve their desired ends, but that assertion is ultimately deemed less important than the tendency of conservative forces to distort.Read more ›
This powerhouse of a book is first aid for those of us weary of all that, but still hoping for a sane, reasonable way to respond and arm ourselves with the real truth.
In /Trust Us, We're Experts/, Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber continue as America's number one watchdogs of the PR industry. This book gives you permission to smell something stinky in the fishy proclamations of media-hyped experts who are wooing our wallets...even when it's packaged as roses, peddled in big showy bunches and enthusiastically delivered to your door using everything from direct mail to the Internet to letters to the editor of your local newspaper to products carefully and expensively placed in your supermarket. And the book leaves the reader with a sense of passion and hope, rather than feeling defeated. What an accomplishment!
/Trust Us, We're Experts/ is meticulous in detail, painstaking in its research, unrelenting in its patient disentangling of complicated issues. Yet it's hugely, easily, fabulously readable, the kind of book I kept quoting portions of out loud to anybody within earshot. The kind of book where you howl aloud on public transit, and people lean over and ask what you're reading, and before you know it, a cluster of folks are engaging in a spontaneous citizen-to-citizen democracy-building session.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Because of the whimsical cover I expected a whimsical book. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book is extensively researched and has a far-reaching analysis of the... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Avô
I think in their attempts to look "objective" the authors weren't as "hard-hitting" as I had hoped they would be.Published on March 8, 2013 by Eric P. Patty
"Trust Us, Were Experts" is one in that pair of intrepid reporters (John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton) remarkable series of books on the Public Relations industry and the... Read morePublished on March 20, 2012 by S Wood
"Trust us, we're impartial!" would have been a more descriptive title for this book.
The authors document in meticulous detail how Public Relations Firms hired by... Read more
Regardless of your politics I recommend that everyone reads this book, and I hope the authors continue to write more of this kind of book. Read morePublished on July 31, 2010 by Antonio
This book applies critical thinking in a world that has been indoctrinated by industry and "experts"for hire. Read morePublished on April 19, 2010 by Robert P. Gehrmann