WEAPONS OF MASS DISTORTION by L. Brent Bozell

WEAPONS OF MASS DISTORTION

The Coming Meltdown of the Liberal Media

KIRKUS REVIEW

An unsuccessful attempt to prove that the news-reporting media is more liberally biased than it is conservative, from conservatively biased commentator Bozell.

The author maintains that he is talking about liberal bias in hard reporting, not commentary, yet time and again he draws on liberal commentators as exemplars of bias: filmmaker Michael Moore, Boston Globe columnist James Carroll, actress Janeane Garofalo, media critic Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, Jonathan Chait of the New Republic. Bozell contends that leftists set the national agenda, despite the fact that three of the last four presidents would complicate this thesis. He claims that news producers give a radical slant to reporting, then reminisces about the time a CNN panel he was on “agreed that the media was not giving the issue of faith nearly the respect it deserved,” while the producers in the control room were ridiculing him. He commends one editor for demanding that his reporters “respect people on both sides of the debate,” but feels free to offer this tidbit: “Connie Chung chirped like a Henry Waxman pom-pom girl.” Leaving aside the question of exactly what constitutes liberalism and conservatism, Bozell demonstrates that on some issues (the environment, gun ownership) and by using certain tactics (reporting allegations as if they were the truth) the media does display bias. Then he will tender a ridiculous “fact,” like the assertion that “Clinton officiated over the single most corrupt administration in American history,” or a snide aside, about “the aged hippies” at NPR, which tend to undercut any authorial aspirations to seriousness. Bozell doesn’t give readers, listeners, or viewers much credit for having intelligence enough to discern bias, which may be why he doesn’t address the crucial question of competent reporting by journalists knowledgeable about the area they cover—the best way for news consumers to gain informed perspectives.

Rancorous handling of a tired issue.

Pub Date: July 6th, 2004
ISBN: 1-4000-5378-1
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2004




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