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by Edward S. Herman

The Myth of the Liberal Media contends that the mainstream media are parts of a market system and that their performance is shaped primarily by proprietor/owner and advertiser interests. Using a propaganda model, it is argued that the commercial media protect and propagandize for the corporate system. Case studies of major media institutions―the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer―are supplemented by detailed analyses of "word tricks and propaganda" and the media's treatment of topics such as Third World elections, the Persian Gulf War, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the fall of Suharto, and corporate junk science.
Download The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader epub
ISBN: 0820441864
ISBN13: 978-0820441863
Category: Politics
Subcategory: Politics & Government
Author: Edward S. Herman
Language: English
Publisher: Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers (November 1999)
Pages: 328 pages
ePUB size: 1203 kb
FB2 size: 1181 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 837
Other Formats: doc lrf lrf lit

A few of the case studies in this book are paraphrased here.
He devotes a chapter to Suharto. He quotes an article by Philip Shennon of The Times with the headline "As Indonesia crushes its critics it helps millions escape poverty." Herman notes that Shennon stated in the same article that most Indonesians were not making more than two to three dollars a day. Such was the portrayal of the regime which butchered hundreds of thousands of people in East Timor and West Papua and killed at least 500,000 landless peasants in coming to power in 1965-66 to the joy of the Western media. Suharto was portrayed as a benign dictator. Oil companies took out ads in the Times for him in 1992. He let Western corporations loot and pillage his country while suppressing independent unions. Hence, he was a "moderate" and his invasion of the former Portugese colony of East Timor in 1975 with U.S. approval and military weapons elicited virtually no U.S. media coverage in the late 70's at the highest peak of atrocities there while the media was moaning in anguish about the Khmer Rouge. East Timor was portrayed as a "complex" place with Indonesia intervening in a "civil war" and the group opposing Indonesian rule portrayed by the Times's Seth Mydans as "separatists." He points out that after Suharto fell in 1998, the media cautiously admitted that Suharto gained his people's acquiescence with the use of fear and not any support for his efforts to maintain "stability." Herman points to a Wall Street Journal article of July 1998 which stated that the World Bank had allowed Indonesia to define its poverty line at one dollar a day, thus creating the fabrication of Suharto's poverty reduction. Most Indonesians, the article stated were making well below a dollar a day.
He notes that the New York Times published an interview Luis Posada Cariles on July 12 and 13 1998, the Cuban exile and CIA asset, were he admitted to being behind terror attacks in Cuba which killed one and injured six, carried out by Salvadoran car thieves financed by Cuban exiles in Miami. Herman notes that Posada was fingered for being behind the blowing up of the Cuban airliner in Venezuela in 1976 which killed 73 and escaped as he was about to go on trial for a fourth time after getting acquitted three times on technicalities. The Times portrayed Posada as a principled man, a family man, who some people were accusing of being a bad guy, who just opposed Fidel Castro,stating wihtout any evidence that he had also opposed the Bautista dictatorship. In contrast Carlos the Jackal, whose murder total is about 83, is portrayed as nothing more than a beastly terrorist.
He points out that the media are firm advocates of policies benefiting the economic elite. Nafta makes countries give up control of their resources to corporate plunder and calls for disbanding any regulation that might protect against the ravanages of corporate profit seeking, making them "investor's rights' agreements rather than Free trade, Herman points out. He quotes Paul Krugman as lauding the agreement for being a device for keeping "free market reformers" in power in Mexico, since future politicians will be bound by the aggreement, whatever the people of Mexico might think. Or what the people of the United States think. He notes that the Washington Post eagerly posted totals of union donations to politicans opposing Nafta, carrying along Clinton's denunciations of the Labor movement for daring to try to influence the political process on something important. In contrast the corporate donations and lobbying which are just fine. The opinions of people like Ralph Nader were given scant coverage instead they focused on Ross Perot whose motivations and manner could easily be attacked.
He points out the media trying to find something good in the collapse of the Mexican economy in 1994 and that of Indonesia in 1998. They tried to argue that the the Mexican economy would have been worse without NAFTA, avoiding that Nafta induced a speculative flow of money to flow in to Mexico, along with reckless lending by banks which created a catastrophe when that money fled. He points out that Nicholas Kristoff, Thomas Friedman and Anthony Lewis of The Times all tried to say that the "free market" had brought Suharto down. Herman says yes it did bring him down but it was the economic crises created by the free-flow of speculative funds into the country along with concomitant reckless lending and then the sudden flight of those funds,in other words free-flow of capital, which created the economic crises which brought Suharto down.
Herman writes that the mass media in America represent "the triumph and consolidation of market failure." That is to say, competition for ratings leads media companies to feature sex and violence and all sorts of "light fare." A loss of a single rating point can lead to a rush of advertisers to other stations. He gives the example The Today show at one point in the 90's losing 380,000 dollars a day in advertising to Good Morning America despite being only a point behind in the ratings. He notes that the corporate media produce a pretty narrow spectrum of opinion with right wingers facing off against "liberals" i.e. weak-kneed centrists who accept many of the assumptions of the right wingers, only questioning U.S. foreign policy motives on grounds of tactics, costs, etc. He ends with a discussion about the possibilities for alternative media like Public Access, micro radio, community radio and the dismal Public Broadcasting System. It is the people, Herman argues, who should directly control and shape the content of mass media
There must be a dozen high-profile books debunking the myth of the liberal media. It'd seem like overkill, except that the right-wing media machine STILL uses 'that darn liberal media!' as their beloved scapegoat when all else fails. Iraq is a total disaster? It's surely not the fault of the administration's corruption or shockingly arrogant policies; it's those liberal nay-sayers and their biased reporting that are undermining our noble campaign!

Alterman's 'What Liberal Media?!?' basically set the bar for this kind of work, mixing hard data with a snarky wit. Herman isn't nearly as biting, but he explores aspects of our media culture that Alterman didn't delve into as deeply, especially the lust for ratings that shapes the information so many Americans base their views on. Herman also manages to avoid the frequent pot-shots at Limbaugh and Company that Alterman was so fond of, which keeps the narrative on the issue at hand, rather than veering off into tweaking-the-nose territory. Other topics - television 'debates' between hard-line firebreathing conservatives and weak-kneed moderates posing as liberals - are old hat, but worth reading for those new to the discussion.

Well-read liberals will probably find this to be mostly-familiar terrain, but considering the power of the media in American politics, the lessons herein are worth repeating. On an amusing side note, I recommend you read the handful of negative reviews here for this book, which consist of nothing more than right-wingers shouting out 'talking points' and encouraging that most beloved conservative staple: anti-intellectualism. Reviews like those are proof enough that the liberal stranglehold on public discourse is a laughable fairy tale, and that conservative talking heads are dominating the microphone.
If the media's unwillness to question the past and policies of George W Bush or its ignoring its own theft of 800 billon dollars worth of spectrum didn't tip you off to the fact that the media is moving rightward this book will
This is a well written and documented book that over turns the lie, perpetuated by the right, that the media is 'liberal.'
If you desperately want to avoid the obvious (that America's major media tilts toward the liberals), start here. Herman is one of the favorite theorists of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), which submits that the media isn't doing enough to demean America, who is they claim, the world's foremost terrorist nation. Perhaps the media is conservative, if you're so far out in left field that Jesse Jackson looks like a reactionary.
Serious left-wing denial of media's liberal leanings. Herman is the mouthpiece of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a liberal media watchdog that critiques rare incidents of anti-liberalism in media. If you're left of Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev this book may interest you.
words you never hear in the mainstream media:
conservative bashing
Bush bashing
ultra liberal
left wing extremeist
Stories you never hear about in the mainstream media:
Black racism
criminals injured or killed by private citizens using a gun
illegitemate children statistics
anything that casts a race of people other than whites in a to negative a manner.
Race crimes against white people
If you want a real opinion that is far less one-sided read Bias by Mark Goldberg.
More left-wing drivel about absolutely nothing. With professors like this it is no wonder the only folks protesting our war on terrorism are students. I hope Americans wake up someday and realize that the money that they pay to educate their children in college goes to fund garbage like this book.