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Embedded: Weapons of Mass Deception: How the Media Failed to Cover the War on Iraqby Danny Schechter
Synopses & Reviews
There were two wars going on in Iraq—one fought with armies of soldiers, bombs, and fearsome military force. The other was fought alongside it with cameras, satellites, armies of journalists, and propaganda techniques. One war was rationalized as an effort to find and disarm WMDs—Weapons of Mass Destruction; the other was carried out by even more powerful WMDs, Weapons of Mass Deception.
Veteran journalist and media watcher Danny Schechter, a former ABC and CNN producer, monitored and now analyzes the cheerleading for a war in which reporting was sanitized, staged, and suppressed. The author of Media Wars: News at a Time of Terror, The More You Watch the Less You Know, and News Dissector, brings an insiders knowledge based on thirty years in journalism with an outsiders perspective to critiquing media coverage. Throughout the war he was "self-embedded" at Mediachannel.org, the worlds largest online media issues network.
Schechters insightful, wide-ranging critique of the American medias war coverage targets the way in which a virtual merger between the Pentagon and the media produced a war spectacle that the American public was primed to see, media collusion in the campaign to discredit the UN, "rightwing liberation theology" as war propaganda, the cozy relationship between news anchors and retired officers hired as military analysts, the controversies over Peter Arnett and Geraldo Rivera, the looting of Baghdad, the lack of media focus on civilian casualties, the disparities in coverage between U.S. and foreign media, and more.
Schechters disturbing indictment of the major media as purveyors of infotainment instead of news will serve as a wake-up call to journalists, media critics, and everyone who cares about a well-informed citizenry as the basis of democracy.
"For skeptics and those unhappy with the way Americans learned of what was happening in Iraq, this is an energetic but deeply discouraging study." Publishers Weekly
"The criticism can be unrelenting but it is certainly shown to be justified in the context of events...Recommended..." Library Journal
"In this compelling inquiry, Schechter vividly captures two wars: the one observed by embedded journalists and...a war that was scarcely covered or explained... That crucial failure is addressed with great skill and insight in this careful and comprehensive study, which teaches lessons we ignore at our peril." Noam Chomsky
"Schechter tells the tawdry tale of the affair between officialdom and the news boys-who, instead of covering the war, covered it up." Greg Palast, BBC reporter and author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy
"This is the best book to date about how the media covered the second Gulf War or maybe miscovered the second war...I recommend it." Peter Arnett, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
Book News Annotation:
The widespread mistaken belief that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9-11 attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania and correlated support for the invasion of Iraq is but one example of the failures of the U.S. media to provide objective and critical coverage of the War on Iraq. Media critic Schechter (executive editor, Mediachannel.org) provided ongoing critical commentary of media performance and government "perception management" during the invasion on his Web site and in other fora. He collects much of it here, along with additional essays by other critics.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Danny Schechter is executive editor of Mediachannel.org; cofounder and executive producer of Globalvision, a New York-based television and film production company; a recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists' 2001 Award for Excellence in Documentary Journalism; a former producer for CNN and for ABC News 20/20, where he won two National News Emmys; and the author of many books on the media. His latest film is WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception.
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