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NEWSPEAK in the 21st Century Paperback – 20 Aug 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (20 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745328938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745328935
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 295,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Not since Orwell and Chomsky has perceived reality been so skilfully revealed in the cause of truth. (John Pilger)

Regular critical analysis of the media, filling crucial gaps and correcting the distortions of ideological prisms, has never been more important. Media Lens has performed a major public service by carrying out this task with energy, insight, and care. (Noam Chomsky)

Media Lens is doing an outstanding job of pressing the mainstream media ... It is fun as well as enlightening to watch their representatives ... often getting flustered, angry, evasive, and sometimes mistating the facts. This won't change the media very much, but it will make them a bit more careful and honest, and it will help educate the public, which will have its own useful spinoff. (Edward S. Herman)

In telling us the unvarnished truth, Media Lens is the best thing to happen to the British media for as long as I can remember. (John Pilger)

About the Author

David Edwards is co-founder/co-editor of Media Lens (www.medialens.org) for which he works full-time. He is author of Free to be Human (1995), The Compassionate Revolution (1998) and co-author of Guardians of Power: The Myth of the Liberal Media (Pluto, 2006).

David Cromwell is co-founder / co-editor of Media Lens (www.medialens.org) and a researcher at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. He is author of Private Planet (2001) and co-author of Guardians of Power: The Myth of the Liberal Media (Pluto, 2006). In 2002, he co-founded the Crisis Forum (www.crisis-forum.org.uk) with fellow Southampton academic Mark Levene. Surviving Climate Change: The Struggle to Avert Global Catastrophe, edited by Cromwell and Levene, was published in 2007 by Pluto.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By gerrymorrow@hotmail.com on 6 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
The first 14 chapters of this book read well and provide an alternative viewpoint to the standard media outlets. They cover Iraq, Venezuela and other important areas of modern media presentation.

Given that they provide clear examples of bias and obvious problems even in "quality" media outlets such as the Guardian, Observer, Independent and BBC.

Once they have so well demonstrated their excellent credentials they have set themselves up to provide a cure of the ills of the fourth estate. And so to the last chapter which reasonably might be viewed as "how to fix journalism".

This is instead an evangelising buddhist tract. Most odd, like a sausage in a lemon meringue pie.

It may be why the standard view of those challenged by Cromwell and Edwards think that they are "cranks and oddballs". Everyone is of course free to express their religious views, but including it here as a coda to an entertaining and valuable expose of modern journalism does, sadly, fuel the perception that this is a distinctly strange approach.

Furthermore, is serves to undermine their first 14 chapters, which is somewhat disappointing.

By all means buy and read the book, we need more of this trailblazing, independent, quixotic journalism but in my view it would have been best to have omitted the final chapter in order that they might be taken more seriously.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. Montgomery on 15 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a vital and exceptionally good book, both well researched and backed up with correspondence between Media Lens and key figures in the UK's 'liberal' media. So in the end you are free to make your own mind up.

It highlights the contradictions, filters and pressures at the heart of our media and enables the thinking person to further analyse the polluted media culture we live in and make more sense of it.

Ultimately its a inspiring read that offers us hope for correcting grave and gaping common distortions and gives us hope for constructing more reliable news analysis in the future through non corporate, non profit Internet based services such as Media Lens and Znet.

One hopes that the BBC, Guardian, Observer and Channel 4 are able to lift themselves out of the pit of the corporate government mindset and truly invite intellectual reason and free thought.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 21 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a devastating expose of how our mainstream media operates in a corporate world. This book explains how consensus reality is so wildly at odds with the actuality in front of our eyes. Outstanding. This should be required reading for trainee journalists, media students and political scientists. A tour de force.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mr. N. T. Baxter VINE VOICE on 18 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
For the most part this book is a catalogue of what the authors identify as biased reporting. They set their sights on numerous familiar names like Andrew Marr, Gavin Esler and others, and set out to highlight the assumptions inherent in their reports.

The arguments presented are sound in general and point to an institutionalised (and not conspiratorial) bias generated by the fundamentally money driven nature of most media, and the subservience to government of the BBC. Reporters who don't wish to toe the line simply won't 'get on' so the organisations select for 'safe pairs of hands' who will not antagonise their financial or political masters. The authors are particularly scathing of the BBC due to it's self proclaimed neutrality, which they say is a sham.

Most of the evidence is in the shape of individual stories that demonstrate bias through a kind of discourse analysis. There is a little quantitative evidence too in the form of some low volume content analysis, but not a great deal. This is something of a problem from a scholarly point of view as it is hard to determine whether the examples that fill the pages are representative or outliers. However, some of the evidence they marshal is compelling, as are the sometimes revealing responses from the journalists they challenge.

Overall the style of the book is very readable. This is in part due to the sense of passion you get from the authors. They clearly care about their work. However, sometimes this does spill over into a kind of posturing in cases where an email exchange with a journalist is included (there are many of these) and the last word goes to the authors.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By D. Scarth on 11 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
These exceptionally dedicated and talented journalists are a credit to their profession. Their book gives a glimpse into what life could be like if people had access to what is really behind world events and what really motivates those with the power to set the media agenda.Anybody who cares about democracy or his fellow man should read this book.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. D. Welsh TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Edwards and David Cromwell, the authors of this book, are the editors of Media Lens, an organisation set up to show up and combat the systematic biases of the corporate media. Media Lens, in their words, is "a response based on our conviction that mainstream newspapers and broadcasters provide a profoundly distorted picture of our world". You can find out more at the Media Lens Web site. (Warning! If you dislike or distrust Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, or Michael Moore, you may also find you dislike this book - because its authors tend to be in sympathy with those three and others of similar viewpoint).

While "Newspeak" contains a wealth of examples cited in detail, its main thesis is that the picture of the world most of us get from the standard corporate media - newspapers, radio, TV, etc. - is filtered, prejudiced, and to a considerable extent untruthful. The authors quote former Guardian editor C. P. Scott's famous dictum, "Comment is free, but facts are sacred", and explain why it is "as naive as it is misleading". Facts, after all, have to be selected before they are offered up as news. "To choose 'this' fact over 'that' fact is already to express an opinion. To highlight 'this' fact over 'that' fact is to comment". (Compare, for example, the lengthy and emotional reporting of a single US or British soldier's death in Iraq or Afghanistan to the way the killing of dozens of civilians is routinely ignored). This crucial insight is quite similar to that which lies at the core of Steven Poole's equally good book, "Unspeak".

As Edwards and Cromwell see it, there is no conspiracy to blind or mislead the British (and American) people.
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