An absolutely brilliant analysis of the ways in which individuals and organizations of the media are influenced to shape the social agendas of knowledge and, therefore, belief. Contrary to the popular conception of members of the press as hard-bitten realists doggedly pursuing unpopular truths, Herman and Chomsky prove conclusively that the free-market economics model of media leads inevitably to normative and narrow reporting. Whether or not you’ve seen the eye-opening movie, buy this book, and you will be a far more knowledgeable person and much less prone to having your beliefs manipulated as easily as the press.
Herman of Wharton and Chomsky of MIT lucidly document their argument that America’s government and its corporate giants exercise control over what we read, see and hear. The authors identify the forces that they contend make the national media propagandisticthe major three being the motivation for profit through ad revenue, the media’s close links to and often ownership by corporations, and their acceptance of information from biased sources. In five case studies, the writers show how TV, newspapers and radio distort world events. For example, the authors maintain that “it would have been very difficult for the Guatemalan government to murder tens of thousands over the past decade if the U.S. press had provided the kind of coverage they gave to the difficulties of Andrei Sakharov or the murder of Jerzy Popieluszko in Poland.” Such allegations would be routine were it not for the excellent research behind this book’s controversial charges. Extensive evidence is calmly presented, and in the end an indictment against the guardians of our freedoms is substantiated. A disturbing picture emerges of a news system that panders to the interests of America’s privileged and neglects its duties when the concerns of minority groups and the underclass are at stake. First serial to the Progressive.
The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection is a serious and realistic assessment of the handling by the western press of a propaganda trick; it shows how the press was led by a handful of journalists linked to the CIA into accepting as proof a fabricated story. This book is a chilling indictment of our so-called “free” press, a press which abuses its freedom by omissions by half-truths, and by stirring the continuation of a Cold War climate. It deserves to be read and remembered.
—Sean MacBride, diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
This stunning dissection of the Bulgarian Connection achieves far more than the demolition of a major hoax. It lays bare the mechanics of western-style disinformation systems and their significance for control of the public mind and global management, providing penetrating insight into the U.S. role in Italy and Turkey in the past years and the revival of Cold War tensions as part of general U.S. global planning.
—Noam Chomsky, author and professor of linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“The supposed KGB-Bulgarian plot to kill the Pope was one of the most sinister yet ludicrous chapters in the history of western propaganda. Edward Herman and Frank Brodhead have done a remarkable job in showing how this propaganda game was played out, with the active participation of important sections of the U.S. press.
—Alexander Cockbum, media critic and columnist for *The Nation
Despite the fact that the two authors are journalists, the book is accurate and credible enough to be used as academic reference. The book covers mainly the Israeli point of view, but its scope is wide and provides insight into the intricate workings and components of the Lebanese-Israeli-Palestinian interactions, as well as the internal aspects of Lebanese and Israeli politics relevant to the issues discussed. The book provides a most interesting and readable coverage of the Israeli military operation, and the behind the scenes planning and intrigue of this operation. Notable is the coverage of the deception used by the Israeli Minister of Defense, Ariel Sharon and Chief of Staff, Rafael Eitan in order to pull the wool over the eyes of the Israeli Prime Minister, Knesset and public. Quite astounding, considering the fact that these events took place in a democratic country. This book is a must for anyone who seeks to understand or research the subject.
Harkabi, formerly a leading Israeli exponent of the position that Arab intransigence leaves Israel no leeway to negotiate with the Palestinians, now argues the opposite: Israel’s leaders must meet face-to-face with the PLO to establish an independent Palestinian state. “This powerful, important book makes urgent reading,"
A comprehensive and sober analysis of the 1982 Israeli incursion into Lebanon. Yaniv, an Israeli expert on national security affairs, lucidly recounts the Israeli military action against PLO and Syrian forces in Lebanon from 1982 to 1984. Focusing upon Israeli political and military leaders involved in decision-making, Yaniv finds considerable fault with Israeli Prime Minister Begin and Major-General Sharon. He also covers the intricate web of relations among political factions in both Israel and Lebanon. The perfect companion to Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'ari’s Israel’s Lebanon War ( LJ 10/15/84), Yaniv’s book is essential reading for any analyst of this period. One of the best on the subject.
—Sanford R. Silverburg, Political Science Dept., Catawba Coll., Salisbury, N.C.
Jo Thomas’s misleading article, CUBA ACCUSES U.S. ON REPATRIATION follows the “Orwellian arguments” mentioned above where crucial facts that would balance the argument and tip the dishonest reporting over to honest statements of facts are not even referred to and collectively left out of discussion for the sake of critical balance.
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It is amazing to see that the argument bears no further investigation once the reporter scurries to the alleged attacker who responds, this is “ridiculous”. We, of course, know what happened later that year on October 25.
The article is “ridiculous”, tantamount to an elderly neighbor calling the cops after you knock on their door and go “Hey, I really don’t like any of the stuff you have in here, would be a shame if someone right next to you—not me—broke in and smashed it all” meanwhile you are in a ski mask and dark black clothing. Your neighbor then calls the cops come to ask you if this is true and you laugh, in the same ski mask and black garb responding that the neighbor’s claims are “ridiculous”.
A few hours later, you break into their home and carry out your promise.
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“Events in Lebanon always threaten to outrun the interpretive literature, but Itamar Rabinovich has narrowed the gap. His book is balanced and insightful, providing much historical background to the 1982 war. Rabinovich attributes Lebanon’s passage from the periphery to the center of Middle Eastern politics to the confluence of Palestinian, Israeli, and Syrian interests there. Though he does not minimize the internal sources of increasing Christian-Muslem tensions, he notes the diffuculties caused by the influx of Palestinians into Lebanon after 1970. Rabinovich does not reduce Lebanon’s domestic conflict to one of Muslems versus Christians. Rather, he painstakingly sorts out the alliances and rivalries among Christians and the various Muslim sects."
—New York Times Book Review