A lot of people know that the mass media spin stories, people, events, and opinions. But few of us can get an inside look at how the PR and opinion industries work with the mass media. How they use science, social science, and pseudo-science to sell toxic products, to ignore their devastating impacts, and to undermine democracy coldly, deliberately, and cynically.
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. Just the kind of thing the big PR firms fear, because citizens armed with the truth stop listening to spinmeisters paid handsomely to tell them what and when to buy.
What I liked best about /Trust Us, We're Experts/: it's immediate and concrete-not a heady bunch of theory. The authors' examples come from today's news-global warming, genetic engineering of food, big tobacco, pharmaceuticals, Microsoft, and more. Never mind what you've heard about conspiracies or subliminal programming-Rampton and Stauber show how the most powerful engineering of consumer awareness operates right under our noses, but cloaked in wiggle words, misinformation, and outright lies.
How can we get clear of the tar-pits of opinion, packaged as fact, that "neutral" "third-party" "experts"have flung us into? Read this book, and you will walk away with a tar-pit-rescue toolkit that the La Brea Coast Guard would envy. I give it five stars, though want Rampton and Stauber to know they're not finished yet, and must keep writing for years and decades to come! Thank you, authors, for this book.