- Series: later printing
- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Crown Forum; First Edition edition (July 6, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400053781
- ISBN-13: 978-1400053780
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 32 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Weapons of Mass Distortion: The Coming Meltdown of the Liberal Media Hardcover – July 6, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
A political talk-show circuit regular, Bozell runs the Media Research Center, an organization that has published several books documenting liberal media bias. In his first solo effort, Bozell richly—and selectively—documents examples of liberal influence in America's newsrooms. There's little doubt that a good deal of what Bozell identifies does exist—there are plenty of examples of "liberal hate" that went unnoticed and undenounced in the press (e.g., the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh stating, "We have an attorney general [John Ashcroft] that is, I don't know, how would you describe him, demented?")—but his thesis nearly requires that he present a partial picture. Bozell enlists right-tilting Bernard Goldberg as rhetorical ally and labels Eric Alterman and his ilk as "liberal media deniers." Many similar books are rife with contradiction, and Bozell's is no exception (which isn't to imply that left-leaning books are any fairer). Thus Bozell mocks Newsweek as a left-wing rag akin to the Nation—until he approvingly quotes Newsweek pundit Howard Fineman when it suits him. Readers may come away thinking there's too much bias in both directions. Bozell's book is music to conservative ears and may even open some liberals' eyes—assuming they'll deign to read it.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Notwithstanding the large and growing numbers of conservative commentators on television and radio, Bozell, nationally syndicated writer and president of a media watchdog group, reveals what he calls staggering evidence of liberal bias in the media. Those who set the agenda for what gets into the news and the angle of the reporting have decidedly liberal viewpoints and an arrogant sense that they are the social conscience of the nation, Bozell asserts. He critiques recent books, including Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media? and Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them (both 2003), which claim there is a growing conservative bias in the media. Bozell begins by exploring how the media view conservatives and liberals and their respective roles in society and illustrates how the media promote liberal issues and try to influence events. Bozell concludes with a prediction of the coming meltdown of the liberal media as public confidence in news reporting erodes. Whether readers agree with his perspective or not, those interested in the media will find this an interesting read. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Among general readers his insights may prompt an epiphany. Even conservatives will be surprised, not at his examples of slanted coverage (they deal with that every day), but at his exposure of the roots of bias: the sanctimony and visceral anger that animate many individual 'mainstream' journalists. Bozell documents credibly that if there's a stronghold of white male rage in America, it's our newsrooms - not our trailer parks or gun clubs.
He fails, however, to explore the single most important strategem by which reporters and editors distort the news: the selective omission of key background information. Hence, articles on gun control regularly allude to the wholesale British gun ban. But most carefully avoid mention of the explosion of violent crime in the UK that followed the ban, much of it still committed with - you guessed it - guns.
Another example: Reporting on the federal budget regularly highlights Democrat complaints that 'tax cuts caused the deficit.' But 'mainstream' reporters rarely mention that such complaints are utterly baseless; that sweeping tax cuts have, on the contrary, caused sharp revenue growth every time they've been implemented - under Kennedy, Reagan and now Bush II. Nor do they explore the competing theories among serious economists over why (NOT whether) this happens.
Despite my grumbling, buy this book! Unless you're some kind of bleeding-heart PC girly-man lightweight, you would spend more at happy hour ... or on a carton of smokes ... or a morning at the range (depending, of course, on what caliber ammo you shoot).
The biggest advanatage of this book is the use of empirical studies by the Media Research Center. Another advantage is that the author's brush isn't overly broad, showing a willingness to acknowledge the sometimes good reporting by frequently biased figures such as Rather and Donaldson.
My one complaint (one another reviewer here mentioned) is that on the one hand Bozell makes a distinction between news reporters and commentators - bias in the former being more insidious - while on the other hand illustrating too many of his examples using commentators such as Gumbel.
Finally, I have a question for reviewers here who too easily dismiss criticism of liberal bias by claiming essentially "corporate paymasters control the news." Where's your evidence? The claim cannot stand unless it can be proven. Also note that many of the top executives at most media corporations are big donors to Democrats. These reviewer have most likely not read this book, and if they did are impermiable to fair analysis.
Fast moving, well paced, and well written, this is still a frustrating book. Frustrating in the sense that, despite gains by cable channels like Fox News, alternative press like The Washington Times and The New York Post, and more balanced news accessible on the Internet, the old media still maintains a stranglehold on much of America's audience, shaping thought and opinion to coincide with the minority views of the media establishment. While Bozell ends with a chapter describing the growth in alternate news channels coming at the expense of the old guard, and the "meltdown" of the Liberal Media, one can only hope that change comes before irreparable harm in done.