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Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nationby Eric Deggans
Synopses & Reviews
Gone is the era of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, when news programs fought to gain the trust and respect of a wide spectrum of American viewers. Today, the fastest-growing news programs and media platforms are fighting hard for increasingly narrow segments of the public and playing on old prejudices and deep-rooted fears, coloring the conversation in the blogosphere and the cable news chatter to distract from the true issues at stake. Using the same tactics once used to mobilize political parties and committed voters, they send their fans coded messages and demonize opposing groups, in the process securing valuable audience share and website traffic. Race-baiter is a term born out of this tumultuous climate, coined by the conservative media to describe a person who uses racial tensions to arouse the passion and ire of a particular demographic. Even as the election of the first black president forces us all to reevaluate how we think about race, gender, culture, and class lines, some areas of modern media are working hard to push the same old buttons of conflict and division for new purposes. In Race-Baiter, veteran journalist and media critic Eric Deggans dissects the powerful ways modern media feeds fears, prejudices, and hate, while also tracing the history of the word and its consequences, intended or otherwise.
"Deggans, the TV and media critic for the Tampa Bay Times, dissects how popular pundits and anchors concoct a web of hate and untruth to recruit viewers, saying ' trust us, not them.' Much of the emphasis is on the provocative nature of FOX News, under conservative media guru Roger Ailes and featuring the right-wing stars Bill O' Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity. Whether it's media coverage of President Obama, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Fluke, or the 2008 presidential election, the shadow issues of race and gender infect the national dialogue with code words and manipulated images, saying that 'any journalism that opposes their core values is dishonest and inaccurate.' In this thoughtful, controversial book, Deggans explores the racial strategies he sees used by conservative media for political advantage, and also cites the blow-by-blow battles between FOX and MSNBC. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Eric Deggans is TV and Media Critic for National Public Radio and formerly for the Tampa Bay Times, Floridas largest newspaper. He also contributes to CNN.com and the Huffington Post. Deggans regularly appears as a pundit/expert on MSNBCs “Countdown”; CNNs “Reliable Sources”; Fox News Channels “Fox and Friends” morning show and “Hannity and Colmes”; PBSs “The NewsHour”; CNN Headline News “Showbiz Tonight”; “The Tavis Smiley Show” on Black Entertainment Television; and the PBS shows “Livelyhood” and “The Calling.” His work has also appeared in a host of newspapers and magazines ranging from the conservative Newsmax magazine to the Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Detroit News and Miami Herald, VIBE magazine, Hispanic magazine and Ebony magazine.
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