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The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy
by David Brock (Author) "WHEN JOURNALIST EDITH EFRON died at age seventy-nine in April 2001,
Virginia Postrel, the editor of the libertarian magazine Reason, for which Efron had been..." (more)

Key Phrases: think tank network, message machinery, professional news organizations, New York Times, Washington Post, White House (more...)
thank you amazion

70 of 86 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars good insights into ideology and propaganda, June 29, 2004
By  lajollaf "lajollaf" (la jolla ca.) - See all my reviews
Anyone familiar with the history of propaganda and public
relations is aware of how much the strategies of mass persuasion
have served ideologies representing radically different
worldviews. Ideologues can benefit deeply from one another
because content is less important than form
:  .../...

.../... showing all the craft and design that has gone into the Republican
talking-points apparatus. Not only does he document the huge
decades-long financing that has stealthily and steadily
(with the complicity of centrist media) created a radical right-wing
juggernaut, but he also demonstrates how right wing
ideologues have circumvented the standard academic peer-review
processes that are in place to weed out junk research and
impression mongering disguised as consequential results
. The
researchers in this tradition often cry that academic
institutions are against their research, but what they
don't tell you is that they'd rather publish in venues
where their work is looked at less critically, because
it is often unsupportable, and where they simply earn
more than they ever would at universities.

Perhaps the biggest boondoggle to deliberative discussion
in American public discourse is how the media misrepresents
these researchers as "scholars" affiliated with think tanks,
giving a patina of depth and authority
to ideology driven
drivel. What the media audience generally doesn't know is
that these think tanks are bastions of uniformity with
coordinated messages spread by well-dressed commentators
whose ideological conformity are the envy of former
Soviet apparatchiks.
For those who want to understand
why American discourse has coarsened in style and
become monochromatic in content, this book provides a
good starting place.

For those with a broader
historical perspective, it helps one to see that
America's ideologues may be more dangerous than
ideologues of other perspectives because they've
been demonstrably more successful:  .../...

198 of 237 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Comprehensive. The Definitive Record., May 18, 2004
By A Customer
.../...  Brock begins at the beginning, with a treatise by a woman named **Efron** arguing that the GOP and business interests need their own distinct media. Efron gets Nixon's attention, Nixon tries to put Efron's plan into action, Nixon runs into the Watergate buzzsaw. But the seed is planted, back in the 1970's, and then cultivated by GOP activists like William Simon, financed heavily by Richard Mellon Scaife, Olin, Coors dynasties etc. (who Brock calls the four sisters). Until the whole thing flowers: all of a sudden a huge battery of propaganda houses like Heritage and American Enterprise, funded by oil companies and GOP financiers, are churning out a counter history of the American experience. Anything counter to GOP orthodoxy is branded 'liberal'; Murdoch and Sun Myung Moon's media empires swiftly join the cause, whose committed purpose is to subdue America's independent media and convert it into service of corporate interests generally and GOP political figures specifically.

Throughout this book, which will be the standard text in colleges and for historians, Brock's tone is calm and steady and he lets the facts speak for themselves (very unlike his earlier books, which are overly polemical -- duh). The research here is encyclopedic. (In a book about media, virtually every quote is on the record).

It is amazing to this reviewer how our media could have been so thoroughly corrupted. How our politicians could have so haplessly junked the Fairness Doctrine which would have smothered the entire Fox News Propaganda Machine in its cradle. It is amazing to me that a small and toxic band of right wing ideologues, (nevertheless armed with billions of dollars of their patrons' money) could so effectively intimidate and cow the so-called guardians of our democracy. Is the triumph of the radical right wing the fault of the Neo-cons, or is it our fault, for our complacency and our timidity?

107 of 134 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars The Vast Right Wing exposed, June 3, 2004
By  Anthony E Reichenberger (St. Paul, MN United States) - See all my reviews
I completely agree with what this book is about. The political right in America has elevated message control and "echo chambering" to a higher level unseen in previous political discourse. The way they manipulate "facts" to their ends, and are able to put them out into the mainstream media largely intact and unqualified is an incredible achievement. The fact there are so many out there that agree lockstep with everything the right says or does without thinking about it demonstrates their successes in this.

However, there are problems with the book. As good as the book chronicles the mechanisms the right has to accomplish this, I believe it would have been far more effective had it been more objective--taken from a viewpoint that this is a sad example of how political discourse is in America; democrats have them too, they just aren't nearly as effective  .../...

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Follow the money, February 23, 2006
Brock follows the money flowing from Bradley, Scaife, Olin and other foundations dedicated to the rise of ultra-conservative ideology that budded in the 1994 Gingrich revolution and flowered in the 2000 Bush seizure of the presidency. He displays how it is that a few well-paid people generating a constant flow of dis- and mis-information can drown out the reasoned voice of the masses and convince them to vote against their own economic and social interests again and again, in spite of the heroic efforts of volunteer truth-speakers. Brock proves that money is distorting American media and political discourse and exposes the bankruptcy of the Supreme Court's equilibration of spending and free speech in their First Amendment interpretation. Truth withers on the vine in the face of the organized ideological assault Grover Norquist has marshaled at the behest of old industrialist fortunes.

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book -- Explains so much, April 1, 2006
By  Bart McGowen (Evanston, IL) - See all my reviews
David Brock's book points out how, how, over the past 20 years, a wish list of beliefs that the far right wanted to be echoed by mainstream america has been beaten in to the public conversation by a massively financed corporate media -

Think about it: Almost all broadcast news comes from one of six huge conglomerates: Viacom, General Electric's NBC, Time Warner, Disney, Fox NewsCorp, and Clear Channel. A republican controlled congress and White House means tens of billions extra profit for each of these companies via favorable Tax and Deregulation policies. Yet the right would like you to believe that these companies generate liberal spin ?!?! Please.

This is the same "Liberal" media that rapidly labeled 2 tour Vietnam combat veteran John Kerry a coward, and labeled George Bush, the man who went AWOL from a cushy slot in the Texas Air Guard, a gutsy, heroic straight shooter.  .../...


.../...Edith Efron (who would later become a longtime contributor to the conservative magazine Reason). The News Twisters was really the first attempt by the right wing to declare and systematically prove liberal bias in the mainstream media, and Republicans hailed it as unimpeachable proof of their long-held suspicions, but Brock describes Efron's "research" methods as "admittedly derived not from accepted principles of social science but from her own 'logic.' " The book's entire focus was on media coverage of the 1968 presidential election, and Efron somehow managed to make everything seem like liberal bias. As Brock describes:

Reviewers noted that in Efron's idiosyncratic world, a report on Nixon being met by college hecklers was an example of anti-Nixon bias, while a report on Humphrey being met by college hecklers was listed not as an example of anti-Humphrey bias but as liberal bias: "reporter supports demonstrators." Nor could she explain how her own data tables contradicted her sweeping conclusions, as when she counted the words spoken for and against liberals on the three networks combined and found 20 percent for liberals and 80 percent against.

When CBS news took the extraordinary step of hiring a research firm to do an analysis of the broadcasts Efron cited, it found that she grossly misrepresented the plain meaning of the transcripts. One CBS script that read, "Nixon says he is warning his staff against overconfidence, but he himself hardly looks worried," was listed by Efron as an "anti-Nixon editorial" that "says Nixon is overconfident; suggests he is a liar."

Even to this day you see these strategies applied in the right wing's criticism of the media -- witness the outrageous contortions Ann Coulter will endure to try and read anti-conservative bias into places where it doesn't exist.

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