|Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse
in the Age of Show Business
Penguin Books, 1985, 160 pages.
Postman's book discusses the way that
TV has altered the nature of discourse from a print metaphor to
an image based metaphor. The change means a trend away from
linear construction of an argument to TV's context-free means of
discourse. With it comes shorter attention spans, jumping
from one topic to another and other difficulties with understanding.
|The problem isn't that TV
is this way, it is, Postman argues, that this style of discourse is
taking over other forms of public discourse from newspapers to books.
You can see that in the trend to shorter articles, more pictures,
and having pictures tell the story. But what happens to those
things that require a sustained argument?
The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America
Daniel J. Boorstin
Atheneum, 1971, 290 pages.
A "pseudo-event" is something like "the
place where the movie Ten Commandments was really filmed" as
opposed to the actual Mt. Sinai. The noted historian Boorstin discusses
a series of transformations -- from News Gathering to News Making,
from Hero to Celebrity, from Traveler to Tourist, and others.
Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic
South End Press, 1989, 410 pages
It is often said that our media is somehow the
antagonist of government officials or that it has a "liberal
bias." Chomsky shows, with a multitude of examples, that in
the area of foreign affairs the press' bias is much different than
those assumptions. Instead by means that are technically the tactics
of propaganda, (selective reporting, selective omission, endless
repetition of the official government line, labeling such as who
is called a "freedom fighter" and who is a "guerrilla")
the mass media supports the government position and that favorable
to large corporations.
|We saw those same tactics
at work in Kosovo, as the press told us endlessly that "there
is no crack in the NATO alliance," despite the fact that both
Italy and Greece had called for a bombing halt for weeks.
|Media Watch sites: places that blow the whistle on the propaganda, day by day
|Editor and Publisher "Covering the Newspaper industry." (Up 11/16/08)
|left i on the news "A leftwing view of the day's news and the way it's presented in the media." (Up 7/25/06)
Whores Online Accurate self-description:
"Media Whores Online takes an unbiased, in-depth look at the
vast myriad of whores who call themselves "journalists."
MWO casts a garish spotlight on the relentless screaming heads of
television, the babbling paranoids of squawk radio, and the crayon
scribblings of lazy print media 'journalists.'" (Up 12/25/03)
"Your daily fix of media industry news,
commentary, and memos." (Up 9/20/06; posted 1/6/05)
Each year a group of folks centered at Sonoma State University compile
a listing of the most important stories that never made the regular
media. So intent is the mass media on ignoring them, that the big publications
don't generally report this list, despite it fulfilling admirably their
need for sensational stories. Also included are follow-ups to previous stories,
and lists from other organizations of overlooked stories (Up
9/20/06; posted 4/25/00)
Not really as even handed as they claim
as they are much harder in their critique of liberal sources, but
is useful for their review of conservative ones. No longer updated. (Up 7/29/04; posted 2/16/03)