#NEWSFAIL by Jamie Kilstein


Climate Change, Feminism, Gun Control, and Other Fun Stuff We Talk About Because Nobody Else Will
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Populist podcasters offer a manifesto on the failings of mainstream media.

Kilstein is a stand-up comedian, and Kilkenny is a journalist whose work has appeared in the Nation. As married collaborators, they launched Citizen Radio as a shoestring, listener-supported alternative to what they viewed as the omissions, distortions and false equivalencies of better-known news outlets, even those termed “liberal.” They see media in which the moderate middle has shifted to the right, since Democrats are no longer as progressive as Republicans are conservative, and news organizations commonly considered liberal have shirked their watchdog responsibilities during the Obama era. Whatever value Jon Stewart once had in exposing political hypocrisy and malfeasance, they now see him as “at best, an armchair activist’s watercooler conversation starter.” None of their views are likely to surprise anyone or convince someone who disagrees: They are pro-choice vegans who strongly supported the Occupy movement, think adversaries of global-warming activism are delusional at best, consider the drug war a massive resource drain (besides, alcohol is more dangerous, and most of those targeted have been black) and maintain that, for example, there are “way, way, WAY more Palestinians dying in this conflict than Israelis, probably because Israel has the second-greatest army in the world, which is really just the US Military 2.0, thanks to our billions of dollars in subsidization.” Though their analyses tend toward broadsides with occasional punch lines, they make a strong case that a greater range of voices needs to be part of the national media discussion, including theirs. “The people whose voices matter the most are also the least likely to get heard,” they write. “When you turn on the news, it’s the same rich old white people that have systematically ruined this country regurgitating the same tired, stale ideas.”

A call to action for those who don’t like the news to make their own.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4767-0651-1
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2014


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