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Toxic Sludge is Good for You Paperback – 5 Aug 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Robinson Publishing (5 Aug. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841199540
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841199542
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,136,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

From the Author

Check out PR Watch quarterly.
Our book TSIGFY grew out of our writing for PR Watch, the investigative quarterly covering government and corporate propaganda and the PR industry. Check our website for back issues, or email me your postal address for a sample of the current issue. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton are the authors of Trust Us, We're Experts and the bestselling Weapons of Mass Deception. Find out more about their work for the Center for Media and Democracy at www prwatch.org www prwatch.org. They both live in Madison Wisconsin

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Aug. 1999
Format: Paperback
Must reading for everyone. I bought a bunch of copies and am giving them as gifts to my friends.
I used to wonder why I heard so much contradictary news in the major media pertaining to health and the environment. First, a news item quotes an authority saying a food is safe, the next year the same newspaper says it's dangerous, and the next year after that they claim it's good for you. After reading this book, I know why. There are thousands of environmental and health , and scientific organizations. According to this book, many (but not all) of these organizations are not much more than clever PR fronts, funded mainly by industry. For example, I have often seen and continue to see information provided by the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) in the major newspapers and magazines. The media usually takes this organization at its word as a credible scientific source.
According to this book: The ACSH is an industry front group that produces PR ammunition for the food processing and chemical industries. They praise the nutritional values of fast food and receive money from the fast food industry. They claim pesticides are very safe and take money from a host of pesticide manufacturers. The list goes on and on.. Yet the journalists usually take the ACSH words almost verbatim as fact and print it in their newspaper. Most journalists don't check their sources, or they're puppets of industry. Then the public reads this stuff as if it were scientifically proven fact. Public policy and law often gets decided on the basis of this "knowledge." Of course, some readers of these "facts" are skeptical, but no one seriously challenges the ACSH's credibility.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Jan. 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a great introduction to the tactics and influence of the PR industry. It could have gone in to more depth, offered more analysis, and been more 'objective' whatever that is, but that wasn't the point. Toxic Sludge brings attention to an industry that has been manufacturing the consent of the public for corporate america and other monied interests. I think it was weakest in it's suggestions about what to do to combat the PR Industry. Their assertion that the only successful activism is NIMBYism is not only wrong but dangerous in that it doesn't lead to a larger movement to reign in corporate power. This book is a must read for anybody who wants to understand where the media is coming from and what corporations are doing to manage their image.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
Which came first American culture or corporate science? Who really holds the politics, and the economy of our country in check? How much power does each individual express with each and every purchase? Employing humor and real life situations, Toxic Sludge encourages us to question the story behind the story. This is am absolutly wonderful book, laced with current and relevant nuggets of information about how corporations have tapped into the behavioral sciences for their gain.It's a quick read and worth everyone's time to explore.
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By Jodi-Hummingbird TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
This is the sort of book that should be essential reading for everyone. Even if you are aware to some extent that our media (and government) plays to the tune of the corporations with the most financial power, and is anything but a source of actual unbiased news, this book is an enlightening and fascinating read.

This book explains that 40% of all news flows virtually unedited from PR companies, that there are more people working in PR than in journalism, and that most of what you see on the news is not news. It explains that those making US health care reform so difficult are lobbyists for the insurance and drug industries (obviously!). It also explains that there is no limit to how low corporations will go to protect their bottom line, subvert genuine activism and the state of knowledge in the general population on a topic.

There are also interesting parts in this book which discuss the way in which polluters and other groups organise campaigns against genuine advocacy efforts, such the book 'Silent Spring' and others. Negative articles and reviews may often even be written before the books are released. Nothing is left to chance. The books are systematically rubbished and denigrated and so are their authors.

It also writes brilliantly about the worrying rise of pretend 'grassroots' activist groups, AstroTurf groups, and how they are manipulating and subverting genuine advocacy attempts. It also discusses some of the shocking ways in which groups have planted fake members into real groups, with sometimes devastating personal effects for the individuals involved and also worked to co-opt genuine members of groups to completely turn against what they stand for.
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By S Wood TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 15 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
Public relations are the means by which power, whether economic or political, maintains and expands its privileges in a Democratic society. In "Toxic Sludge is Good For You" John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton of the Centre for Media and Democracy deal with this issue in a commendably straightforward and readable manner.

The book deals with a number of issues including (i) the origins of the PR industry; (ii) the tobacco industries use of PR to minimize the effect of the links between smoking and cancer in order to protect their very profitable activity; (iii) the role of PR in the nuclear power industry; (iv) the corporate use of PR in the face of the green movement that rapidly grew from the late 1960's; (v) the Christian rights use of PR methods; (vi) foreign policy and PR; and (vii) how PR has affected the media, with particular regards to the growing use of PR materials in the media in lieu of the more expensive practice of investigative reporting.

It deals with the full gamut of PR activities from the press release to the more controversial use of spies and agent provocateurs, the formation of fake grass-roots movements (known as astro-turf) and the methods used to subvert and divide real grass roots movements. These processes, and much more, are illustrated with examples that make clear the damage PR has done to democratic participation in decisions about how our societies function.

The PR industry knows no borders, and has expanded across the globe even to "communist" China, so while the book is rooted in U.S. experience, it has relevance for readers everywhere. Essential reading if you are interested in immunizing yourself from corporate or political propaganda, even more so if you're an activist in any shape or form.
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