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RED, WHITE & BLIND by Tony Brasunas


The Truth About Disinformation & the Path to Media Consciousness

by Tony Brasunas

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 2023
ISBN: 9781667874432
Publisher: Torchpost

Freelance journalist Brasunas critiques modern media in this nonfiction work.

As an American citizen living in China during Britain’s 1997 transfer of Hong Kong, the author saw firsthand the power of the media in shaping public opinion. He observes that while American media emphasized concerns for the freedoms of the island’s people, the Chinese media’s response was predictably celebratory. It wasn’t until he worked as a journalist for the Huffington Post in the United States, however, that Brasunas developed his understanding of the ways systemic issues of internal censorship and bias influence American media. The author’s experiences covering presidential campaign events with activist Ralph Nader in 2000 and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016 failed to align with the national media’s coverage, which either ignored the candidates altogether or dismissed their supporters with derisive monikers like “Bernie Bros.” The author offers readers a detailed history of media manipulation throughout U.S. history, from World War I propaganda to deliberate CIA misinformation campaigns. He goes on to present case studies of contemporary news stories in which, Brasunas asserts, corporate media and mainstream journalists were complicit in burying stories or were derelict in their ethical duty to investigate an issue beyond the official government narrative, from the 2003 invasion of Iraq to the 2019 sexual abuse case involving financier Jeffrey Epstein. A self-described progressive, the author targets what he sees as right-wing media misrepresentation, but he is also willing to highlight failures of left-leaning outlets, such as Facebook’s and Twitter’s coverage (or lack thereof) of Flint, Michigan’s water crisis. The book’s convincing critiques of the current state of American media are balanced by later chapters that are more optimistic in tone, offering readers pragmatic advice on how to consume a “Balanced Media Diet” and tips for informational literacy. Brasunas’ disdain for and distrust of media-anointed experts (including Anthony Fauci, the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) and exhortations to “think for yourself” may echo some right-wing sentiments, but the book questions both conservative and liberal spins on most issues. Its impressive research is backed by almost 60 pages of endnotes that reference sources across the ideological spectrum.

A well-researched assessment of 21st-century media.