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Breaking The News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy

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9780679758563: Breaking The News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy
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Why do Americans mistrust the news media? It may be because show like "The McLaughlin Group" reduce participating journalists to so many shouting heads. Or because, increasingly, the profession treats issues as complex as health-care reform and foreign policy as exercises in political gamesmanship. These are just a few of the arguments that have made Breaking the News so controversial and so widely acclaimed. Drawing on his own experience as a National Book Award-winning journalist--and on the gaffes of colleagues from George Will to Cokie Roberts--Fallows shows why the media have not only lost our respect but alienated us from our public life.
"Important and lucid...It moves smartly beyond the usual attacks on sensationalism and bias to the more profound problems in modern American journalism...dead-on."--Newsweek

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A lot of big-shot journalists didn't like this book, a systematic jeremiad about the current sad state of American political journalism. For instance, both the New York Times op-ed page and the New Yorker took pains to excoriate the book and its author--pretty good hints that Fallows is onto something. His point is that greed and intellectual sloth have fostered a political media elite that increasingly focuses on spin and ignores substance at the very time when solving the country's real problems requires all possible nuance.

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Why do Americans mistrust the news media? It may be because shows like The McLaughlin Group reduce participating journalists to so many shouting heads. Or because, increasingly, the profession treats issues as complex as health-care reform and foreign policy as exercises in political gamesmanship. Or because muckrakers have given way to "buckrakers" who command huge fees lecturing to the very interest groups they are supposed to cover. These are just some of the arguments that have made Breaking the News so controversial and so widely acclaimed. Drawing on his own experience as a National Book Award-winning journalist - and on the gaffes of colleagues from George Will to Cokie Roberts - Fallows shows why the media have not only lost our respect but alienated us from our public life. Moving from rigorous analysis to concrete proposals, the result is a devastating critique that is indispensable for anyone who makes the news - and anyone who reads or watches it.

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