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America (The Book)

In America (The Book), Jon Stewart and The Daily Show writing staff offer their insights into our unique system of government, dissecting its institutions, explaining its history and processes, and exploring the reasons why concepts like one man, one vote, government by the people, and every vote counts have become such popular urban myths. An entire chapter is devoted to telling the inspirational story of how the media transformed itself from a mere public necessity into an entertaining profit center for ever-expanding corporate empires.

Common Nonsense

Common Nonsense: The Triumph Of Ignorance, is the first comprehensive examination of Glenn Beck’s beginnings. Alexander Zaitchik has put together an intelligent and revealing look at a man who, from the start, seemed to have no interests outside of radio stardom, and certainly no interest in politics. Beck’s shock-jock origins are examined as well as how he rose from drug and alcohol addictions to become the sort of judgmental jerk that he surely would not abide with regard to his own failings. It’s a dramatic story, and Zaitchik has made it a compelling read.

Don’t Think Of An Elephant

Don’t Think of An Elephant! is the antidote to the last forty years of conservative strategizing and the right wing’s stranglehold on political dialogue in the United States. Author George Lakoff explains how conservatives think, and how to counter their arguments. He outlines in detail the traditional American values that progressives hold, but are often unable to articulate. Lakoff also breaks down the ways in which conservatives have framed the issues, and provides examples of how progressives can reframe the debate.

Understanding Power

A major new collection from “arguably the most important intellectual alive” (The New York Times). Noam Chomsky is universally accepted as one of the preeminent public intellectuals of the modern era.

Now, in Understanding Power, Peter Mitchell and John Schoeffel have assembled the best of Chomsky’s recent talks on the past, present, and future of the politics of power. With an eye to political activism and the media’s role in popular struggle, as well as U.S. foreign and domestic policy, Understanding Power offers a sweeping critique of the world around us and is definitive Chomsky. Characterized by Chomsky’s accessible and informative style, this is the ideal book for those new to his work as well as for those who have been listening for years.

The Problem of the Media

The symptoms of the crisis of the U.S. media are well-known decline in hard news, the growth of info-tainment and advertorials, staff cuts and concentration of ownership, increasing conformity of viewpoint and suppression of genuine debate. McChesney’s new book, The Problem of the Media, gets to the roots of this crisis, explains it, and points a way forward for the growing media reform movement.

All the President’s Spin

From his campaigns for tax cuts to the debate over war in Iraq, President Bush has employed an unprecedented onslaught of half-truths and strategically ambiguous language to twist and distort the facts. Fritz, Keefer, and Nyhan’s powerful critique of Bush’s record of policy deception explains why the media has failed to hold him accountable and demonstrates the threat these tactics pose to honest political debate.

This is the essential book for every citizen who wants to understand how George W. Bush has misled the nation and why, if left unchallenged, all the President’s spin could soon become standard practice — a devastating development for our democracy.

Bad News

In Bad News, Tom Fenton offers a fiery indictment of just how far “the news” has fallen. As a frequent voice in the wilderness himself — who fought in vain to interest CBS in an Osama bin Laden interview in the 1990s — Fenton reveals a news-gathering environment gutted by corporate bottom-lining bottom-feeders, staffed by dilatory producers and executives (who dismissed important stories as depressing or obscure), and dangerously dependent on images and information gathered by third-party sources.

Sneaking Into the Flying Circus

Alexandra Pelosi, creator of the Emmy award-winning film Journeys with George and of Diary of a Political Tourist, makes her literary debut with an intimate look at the frenzied and grueling underbelly of presidential campaigning and the puppet role of the media.

Probing, insightful, and lively, Sneaking into the Flying Circus exposes the election process for what it is: a three-ring gala production that comes to town every four years.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

For those who thought the Dean campaign ended with a screaming speech in an Iowa ballroom, this book is a wake-up call. Joe Trippi explains how — right now — Internet democracy is transforming every aspect of American life by evenly distributing power. This is the story of how Trippi’s revolutionary use of the Internet and an impassioned, contagious desire to overthrow politics as usual grew into a national grassroots movement and changed the face of politics forever.

The Republican Noise Machine

David Brock charges the mainstream media, cowed by spurious charges of “liberal bias,” have abandoned their role as objective arbiters of truth in favor of an uncritical airing of partisan ideology in the name of “balance.” The result, he says, is a public discourse in which the line between fact and opinion is blurred

The New Media Monopoly

When the first edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 1983, critics called Ben Bagdikian”s warnings about the chilling effects of corporate ownership and mass advertising on the nation”s news “alarmist.” Since then, the number of corporations controlling most of America”s daily newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, book publishers, and movie companies has dwindled from fifty to ten to five.

We the Media

Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big Media’s monopoly on the news, transforming it from a lecture to a conversation. Not content to accept the news as reported, these readers-turned-reporters are publishing in real time to a worldwide audience via the Internet. The impact of their work is just beginning to be felt by professional journalists and the newsmakers they cover.

What Liberal Media?

What Liberal Media? confronts the question of liberal bias and, in so doing, provides a sharp and utterly convincing assessment of the realities of political bias in the news. In distinct contrast to the conclusions reached by Ann Coulter, Bernard Goldberg, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly, Alterman finds the media to be, on the whole, far more conservative than liberal, though it is possible to find evidence for both views. The fact that conservatives howl so much louder and more effectively than liberals is one significant reason that big media is always on its guard for “liberal” bias but gives conservative bias a free pass.

The Corporation

Bakan, an internationally recognized legal scholar and professor of law at the University of British Columbia, takes a powerful stab at the most influential institution of our time, the corporation. As a legal entity, a corporation has as its edict one and only one goal, to create profits for its shareholders, without legal or moral obligation to the welfare of workers, the environment, or the well-being of society as a whole. Corporations have successfully hijacked governments, promoting free-market solutions to virtually all of the concerns of human endeavor. Competition and self-interest dominate, and other aspects of human nature, such as creativity, empathy, and the ability to live in harmony with the earth, are suppressed and even ridiculed.

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

Al Franken trains his subversive wit directly on the contemporary political scene. Now, the “master of political humor” (Washington Times) destroys the myth of liberal bias in the media, and exposes how the Right shamelessly tries to deceive the rest of us.

No one is spared as Al uses the Right’s own words against them. Not the Bush administration and their rhetorical hypocrisy. Not Ann Coulter and her specious screeds. Not the new generation of talk-radio hosts, and not Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, and the entire Fox network. This is the book Al Franken fans have been waiting for (and his foes have been dreading).

The Sorrows of Empire

In the years after the Soviet Union imploded, the United States was described first as the globe’s “lone superpower,” then as a “reluctant sheriff,” next as the “indispensable nation,” and now, in the wake of 9/11, as a “New Rome.” Here, Chalmers Johnson thoroughly explores the new militarism that is transforming America and compelling its people to pick up the burden of empire. Among Johnson’s provocative conclusions is that American militarism is putting an end to the age of globalization and bankrupting the United States, even as it creates the conditions for a new century of virulent blowback.

The Sorrows of Empire suggests that the former American republic has already crossed its Rubicon—with the Pentagon leading the way.

Breaking the News

Why do Americans mistrust the news media? It may be because show like “The McLaughlin Group” reduce participating journalists to so many shouting heads. Or because, increasingly, the profession treats issues as complex as health-care reform and foreign policy as exercises in political gamesmanship.

These are just a few of the arguments that have made Breaking the News so controversial and so widely acclaimed. Drawing on his own experience as a National Book Award-winning journalist–and on the gaffes of colleagues from George Will to Cokie Roberts–Fallows shows why the media have not only lost our respect but alienated us from our public life.

Free Culture

Lawrence Lessig could be called a cultural environmentalist. One of America’s most original and influential public intellectuals, his focus is the social dimension of creativity: how creative work builds on the past and how society encourages or inhibits that building with laws and technologies.

In his two previous books, Code and The Future of Ideas, Lessig concentrated on the destruction of much of the original promise of the Internet. Now, in Free Culture, he widens his focus to consider the diminishment of the larger public domain of ideas.

Big Lies

In Big Lies, Conason dissects 10 of the most persistent, and–according to him–glaringly incorrect, arguments made by conservatives. Each chapter begins with a quotation (“Liberals control the media and misuse their influence to promote left-wing politics,” “Conservatives are the only true champions of free enterprise”), which is then picked apart using statistical evidence and detailed historical research and rejected. The modern right wing, in the opinion of Conason, is not the bastion of virtue and defender of the common man it claims to be. Rather, it is a calculating and shrewdly efficient group of propagandists fueled by revenues generated by a system that rewards cronyism.

The Oh Really? Factor

O’Reilly’s “no-spin” motto is clever marketing—but who’s keeping track of O’Reilly’s own spin? From his support for Bush’s tax cuts and the war with Iraq to his attacks on everything from National Public Radio to “welfare mothers,” O’Reilly often contradicts himself and consistently concocts evidence to support his conservative talking points. Following in the footsteps of FAIR’s hit book The Way Things Aren’t: Rush Limbaugh’s Reign of Error, The Oh Really? Factor will use facts, humor, illustrations, and comics to challenge the many absurd, outlandish, and just plain incorrect statements made on one of the U.S.’s most-watched “news” programs.

Dude, Where’s My Country?

When the powers-that-be succeeded in ignoring—and then silencing—the nation’s widespread dissent over war, one man stood on an Oscar stage and, in front of a billion people, outed the commander in chief for his fictitious presidency and his fictitious war. Now no one is safe: corporate barons who have bilked millions out of their employees’ lifetime savings, legislators who have stripped away our civil liberties in the name of “homeland security.”

Attack Poodles

With breathtaking clarity and savage wit, Wolcott has turned the tables on the punditocracy, revealing the foibles and hypocrisies of this particularly pompous breed, as well as the ignorance and arrogance of the administration it aims to protect. Targeting the big dogs in the poodle parlor—Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Robert Novak, Dennis Miller, Peggy Noonan, and dozens more—his critique is an invaluable lesson in right-wing media manipulation. He dissects the attack poodles’ penchant for simplistic combativeness and their muzzling of the media for George Bush during a time of war.

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

Award-winning investigative journalist Greg Palast digs deep to unearth the ugly facts that few reporters working anywhere in the world today have the courage or ability to cover. This exciting new collection brings together some of Palast’s most powerful writing of the past decade.

Included here are his celebrated “Washington Post” exposé on Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris’s stealing of the presidential election in Florida, and recent stories on George W. Bush’s payoffs to corporate cronies, the payola behind Hillary Clinton, and the faux energy crisis.

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television

A total departure from previous writing about television, this book is the first ever to advocate that the medium is not reformable. Its problems are inherent in the technology itself and are so dangerous — to personal health and sanity, to the environment, and to democratic processes — that TV ought to be eliminated forever.

Pigs at the Trough

Provocative political commentator Arianna Huffington yanks back the curtain on the unholy alliance of CEOs, politicians, lobbyists, and Wall Street bankers who have shown a brutal disregard for those in the office cubicles and on the factory floors. Making the case that our public watchdogs have become little more than obedient lapdogs, unwilling to bite the corporate hand that feeds them, Arianna Huffington turns the spotlight on the tough reforms we must demand from Washington.

News Flash

Anderson illustrates how television journalism has been co-opted by bottom-line thinking that places more value on a telegenic face than on substantive reporting. She shows how, in the increasingly competitive world of network news, network executives—the real power in broadcast journalism—tend more and more to hail from the entertainment industry.

News Flash shows how the ascendance of infotainment is ultimately disastrous both for the networks’ bottom line and for democracy in America. Anderson instead offers a path that will both ensure the continuing relevance of network news and shore up democracy itself, enabling Americans to make well-informed decisions about how to exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens.

The Press Effect

Jamieson and Waldman analyze both press coverage and public opinion, using the Annenberg 2000 survey, which interviewed more than 100,000 people, to examine one of the most interesting periods of modern presidential history, from the summer of 2000 through the beginning of 2002.

How does the press fail us during presidential elections? Jamieson and Waldman show that when political campaigns side-step or refuse to engage the facts of the opposing side, the press often fails to step into the void with the information citizens require to make sense of the political give-and-take.

The Press Effect is, ultimately, a wide-ranging critique of the press’s role in mediating between politicians and the citizens they are supposed to serve.

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