Synopses & Reviews
Nearly one million weekly listeners trust NPR's Brooke Gladstone to guide them through the distortions and complexities of the modern media. This brilliant radio personality now bursts onto the page as an illustrated character in vivid comics drawn by acclaimed artist Josh Neufeld. The cartoon of Brooke conducts the reader through two millennia of history-from the newspapers in Caesar's Rome to the penny press of the American Revolution and the manipulations of contemporary journalism. Gladstone's manifesto debunks the notion that "The Media" is an external force, outside of our control, since we've begun directly constructing, filtering, and responding to what we watch and read. With fascinating digressions, sobering anecdotes, and brave analytical wit, The Influencing Machine equips us to be smart, savvy, informed consumers and shapers of the media. It shows that we have met the media and it is us. So now what?
"Gladstone, cohost of NPR's On the Media, and noted illustrator Neufeld (A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge) make a formidable pair in this fascinating history of media's influence. Gladstone is both narrator and visual tour guide, popping up throughout Neufeld's panels as both her contemporary self and wittily camouflaged alongside historical figures. From the 'Acta Diurna' posted in ancient Rome to the outcries over President Adams's Alien and Sedition Acts and McCarthy's Red Scare, Gladstone traces not only the birth of the press but also its various muzzles. The press will not always stay silent, as she illustrates with Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, and Woodward and Bernstein's uncovering of the Watergate scandal. Yet government opacity still abounds, and Gladstone pointedly wonders if secrecy really makes us safer. One of the most intriguing sections deals with bias, a term tossed around so often it's become almost meaningless. Gladstone points to seven key biases that cognizant media consumers should worry about: commercial, bad news, status quo, access, visual, narrative, and fairness. These dovetail nicely into a frank discussion of war journalism, which highlights Neufeld's considerable skills, with each panel bursting with situational details. Gladstone's is an indispensible guide to our ever-evolving media landscape that's brought vividly to life. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A visionary and opinionated work of graphic nonfiction on the media and its discontents.
About the Author
Brooke Gladstone is cohost of NPR's On the Media and former senior editor of All Things Considered. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.Josh Neufeld is the author of the New York Times bestseller A. D.: New Orleans After the Deluge and A Few Perfect Hours. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.