UNRELIABLE SOURCES: A Guide to Detecting Bias in News Media by Martin A. & Norman Solomon Lee

UNRELIABLE SOURCES: A Guide to Detecting Bias in News Media

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An extensive record of recent media distortions, presented in bite. size pieces in order not to alienate readers whose information consumption-patterns have been formed by the media the authors criticize. Lee (coauthor of Acid Dreams: The CIA,' LSD, and the Sixties Rebellion, 1086, and editor of the media-watchdog journal, Extra !) and Solomon (coauthor of Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America's Experience with Atomic Radiation--not reviewed) begin by noting that the news is shaped not only by advertisers, but also by the corporations that own magazines, newspapers, and TV networks. They cite General Electric's ownership of NBC, which has coincided with an increase in favorable reporting on the nuclear power industry (a profitable GE sideline), and tie the rising number of conservative voices on public radio and TV to federal cuts and a greater reliance on private sponsorship. The authors also point out the limited spectrum of opinions included in debate-formatted TV programs such as Nightline. Six chapters examine how reporters in mainstream media have distorted the news surrounding six different issues by relying unquestioningly on government officials and corporate PR departments. One chilling example is how the news industry downplayed the growing AIDS epidemic so much in the last year that readers began to assume that the disease was abating. Lee and Solomon end their study with a plea for media consumers to demand more accurate products. Not a new thesis, but of interest for its scrutiny of recent media biases.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1990
Publisher: Lyle Stuart/Carol