Synopses & Reviews
A powerful critique of how manipulation of media gives rise to disinformation, intolerance, and divisiveness, and what can be done to change direction.
"Mickey Huff and Nolan Higdon emphasize what we can do today to restore the power of facts, truth, and fair, inclusive journalism as tools for people to keep political and corporate power subordinate to the engaged citizenry and the common good." Ralph Nader
The role of news media in a free society is to investigate, inform, and provide a crucial check on political power. But does it?
It's no secret that the goal of corporate-owned media is to increase the profits of the few, not to empower the many. As a result, people are increasingly immersed in an information system structured to reinforce their social biases and market to their buying preferences. Journalism's essential role has been drastically compromised, and Donald Trump's repeated claims of "fake news" and framing of the media as "an enemy of the people" have made a bad scenario worse.
Written in the spirit of resistance and hope, United States of Distraction offers a clear, concise appraisal of our current situation, and presents readers with action items for how to improve it.
"Here is a book that cuts through the clutter of media nonsense to tell us some powerful truths. How they do it in a way that makes us angry while also inspired, is what makes the book so vibrant, and vital." Robin Andersen, editor of The Routledge Companion to Media and Humanitarian Action and Professor of Media Studies at Fordham University
"A war of distraction is underway, media is the weapon, and our minds are the battlefield. Higdon and Huff have written a brilliant book of how we've gotten to this point, and how to educate ourselves to fight back and win." Henry A. Giroux, author of American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism
"This book is a call to action at a moment when not heeding history's warnings, and not dramatically changing course, threatens not only the future of our republic but of global civilization itself." Peter Kuznick, professor of history at American University, author (with Oliver Stone) of The Untold History of the United States
About the Author
Dr. Nolan Higdon is professor of History and Communication at California State University, East Bay. His academic work primarily focuses on news media, propaganda, critical media literacy, and social justice pedagogies. He has been a guest commentator for news media outlets such as The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox. He is a board member for the Media Freedom Foundation, frequent contributor to Project Censored's annual Censored books series, a co-founder of the Global Critical Media Literacy Project, a program advisor for Sacred Heart University Media Literacy and Digital Culture Graduate Program, a steering committee member for the Union for Democratic Communications, and co-host of the Project Censored radio show.
Mickey Huff is director of Project Censored and the president of the Media Freedom Foundation. He has edited or coedited ten volumes of in the Censored book series and contributed numerous chapters to these annuals since 2008. He has also co-authored essays on media and propaganda for other scholarly publications. He is professor of social science and history at Diablo Valley College, where he co-chairs the History Department; he is also a lecturer in the Communications Department at California State University, East Bay, and has taught Sociology of Media at Sonoma State University. Huff is executive producer and cohost of The Project Censored Show, the weekly syndicated program that originates from KPFA in Berkeley. He is a cofounding member of the Global Critical Media Literacy Project (gcml.org), sits on the advisory board for the Media Literacy and Digital Culture graduate program at Sacred Heart University, and serves on the editorial board for the journal Secrecy and Society. Huff works with the national outreach committee of Banned Books Week, the American Library Association, and the National Coalition Against Censorship, of which Project Censored is a member. He is the critical media literacy consultant for the educational Internet startup, Tribeworthy.com, He regularly gives interviews on critical media literacy, propaganda, censorship issues, and contemporary historiography. He is a musician and composer and lives with his family in Northern California.