- Hardcover: 419 pages
- Publisher: Lyle Stuart (August 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 081840521X
- ISBN-13: 978-0818405211
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,589,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Unreliable Sources: A Guide to Detecting Bias in News Media
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From Publishers Weekly
Associated with the media-watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), Lee ( Acid Dreams ) and Solomon ( Killing Our Own ) here document their assertion that the media have come to assume the role of spokespeople for the American business establishment, which allegedly runs the U.S. in general and Washington powerbrokers in particular--and whose press releases and other self-promoting testimonials often wend their way, verbatim, into newsprint. Citing the reluctance of newspapers and TV networks to present dissenting views on military spending, environmental pollution, economic policies that frustrate blacks and Hispanics, and American gunboat diplomacy in Latin America, they make a compelling case for the contention that newsmen and women distort current events. And though in the Reagan-Bush era, theirs is certainly a minority viewpoint, the authors remain convinced a change can be wrought.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
"The most sacred cow of the press is the press itself." In this book, Lee, publisher of Extra , the journal of the Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) organization, and Solomon, an investigative journalist, make mincemeat of that maxim and detail how often the press is biased. For example: many journalists just wade through their Rolodexes for sources; others make unobjective "we we" on the air ("When are we going to get Noriega?"); and stories on "unpopular" perspectives on race, gender, and politics often go unreported. While this book is most appropriate for serious media collections, all libraries would benefit from a book that advocates media activism, in which "one can learn to be a more critical consumer of the news."-- Judy Quinn, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
In an early-1990s edition of this book, the authors wrote a preface in April 1991 on the recently-concluded Gulf War. It noted that the mainstream media was solidly behind the war once it began. Former Asst Sec of State Hodding Carter remarked, "If I were the government, I'd be paying the press for the kind of coverage it is getting right now." Michael Deaver said, "If you were going to hire a public relations firm to do the media relations for an international event, it couldn't be done any better than this is being done."
The military frequently censored US reporters for trivial reasons, refusing to tell them Gen. Schwarzkopf's weight (250lbs) for instance. Only the British press was allowed to report that US pilots were shown pornographic films before taking off on Stealth bombing missions. None of the major media institutions joined in the lawsuit challenging Pentagon censorship that was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights, nor did they even report the existence of such a lawsuit during the war. Yet, there were complaints: NYT correspondent Malcolm Browne groused, "The pool system is turning journalists into essentially unpaid employees of the Department of Defense." CBS News president Eric W. Ober lamented, "The new guidelines guarantee pack journalism - the worst form of reporting - and allow the military to orchestrate and control the news before it reaches the American people."
FAIR did a survey of nightly network news programs during the first two weeks of the war, and found that only 1.5% of news sources were identified as American war protestors. They were frequently awed by US military technology: Charles Osgood described the bombing of Iraq as a "marvel." CBS reporter Jim Stewart extolled "two days of almost picture perfect assaults," though the Pentagon was only showing the media footage of hits, not misses.
NBC is owned by GE, which designed, manufactured or supplied parts or maintenance for nearly every major weapon system used by the US - including the Patriot and Tomahawk cruise missiles, the Stealth bomber, the B-52 bomber, the AWACS plane, and the NAVSTAR spy satellite system.
A chorus of TV experts hailed Reagan's military buildup. "We lie by not telling you things," a Pentagon official confessed to Newsday. A few days after the war began, Time magazine defined "collateral damage" this way: "a term meaning dead or wounded civilians who should have picked a safer neighborhood." Newsweek featured a Stealth bomber on the cover and the headline "High-Tech Hardware: How Many Lives Can it Save?"
Nearly a week into the bombing, while Iraqi cities were under constant bombardment, Ted Koppel commented on Nightline: "Aside from the Scud missile that landed in Tel Aviv earlier, it's been a quiet night in the Middle East." Of all the bombs dropped on Iraq, only 7% were smart bombs, and of these at most 70% were thought to have hit their targets. The US used the fuel-air bomb against Iraqis, and the media didn't talk about it, though the Los Angeles Times had previously described it as a "terrorist" weapon. European press accounts described the horrific effects of such an attack on Iraqi soldiers. The military's use of white phosphorus - a chemical weapon that burns deep into skin and bone - was also hushed up by the press.
The New Republic, which had urged additional US aid to Saddam in 1987, would doctor a photo of him on their cover to make his mustache look like Hitler's. NBC's Tom Brokaw stated that US soldiers were in the Gulf "defending the right, among others, to have freedom of expression."