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Media Studies

AMER EXCEPTIONALISM & AMER INN

AMER EXCEPTIONALISM & AMER INN

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"Fake news existed long before Donald Trump.... What is ironic is that fake news has indeed been the only news disseminated by the rulers of U.S. empire."--From American Exceptionalism and American Innocence

According to Robert Sirvent and Danny Haiphong, Americans have been exposed to fake news throughout our history--news that slavery is a thing of the past, that we don't live on stolen land, that wars are fought to spread freedom and democracy, that a rising tide lifts all boats, that prisons keep us safe, and that the police serve and protect.

Thus, the only "news" ever reported by various channels of U.S. empire is the news of American exceptionalism and American innocence. And, as this book will hopefully show, it's all fake.

Did the U.S. really "save the world" in World War II? Should black athletes stop protesting and show more gratitude for what America has done for them? Are wars fought to spread freedom and democracy? Or is this all fake news?

American Exceptionalism and American Innocence examines the stories we're told that lead us to think that the U.S. is a force for good in the world, regardless of slavery, the genocide of indigenous people, and the more than a century's worth of imperialist war that the U.S. has wrought on the planet.

Sirvent and Haiphong detail just what Captain America's shield tells us about the pretensions of U.S. foreign policy, how Angelina Jolie and Bill Gates engage in humanitarian imperialism, and why the Broadway musical Hamilton is a monument to white supremacy.

AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH

AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH

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Television has conditioned us to tolerate visually entertaining material measured out in spoonfuls of time, to the detriment of rational public discourse and reasoned public affairs. In this eloquent, persuasive book, Neil Postman alerts us to the real and present dangers of this state of affairs, and offers compelling suggestions as to how to withstand the media onslaught. Before we hand over politics, education, religion, and journalism to the show business demands of the television age, we must recognize the ways in which the media shape our lives and the ways we can, in turn, shape them to serve out highest goals.

CONSTRUCTING THE OUTBREAK: EPI

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IRRESISTIBLE: THE RISE OF ADDI

IRRESISTIBLE: THE RISE OF ADDI

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"One of the most mesmerizing and important books I've read in quite some time. Alter brilliantly illuminates the new obsessions that are controlling our lives and offers the tools we need to rescue our businesses, our families, and our sanity." --Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take

Welcome to the age of behavioral addiction--an age in which half of the American population is addicted to at least one behavior. We obsess over our emails, Instagram likes, and Facebook feeds; we binge on TV episodes and YouTube videos; we work longer hours each year; and we spend an average of three hours each day using our smartphones. Half of us would rather suffer a broken bone than a broken phone, and Millennial kids spend so much time in front of screens that they struggle to interact with real, live humans.

In this revolutionary book, Adam Alter, a professor of psychology and marketing at NYU, tracks the rise of behavioral addiction, and explains why so many of today's products are irresistible. Though these miraculous products melt the miles that separate people across the globe, their extraordinary and sometimes damaging magnetism is no accident. The companies that design these products tweak them over time until they become almost impossible to resist.

By reverse engineering behavioral addiction, Alter explains how we can harness addictive products for the good--to improve how we communicate with each other, spend and save our money, and set boundaries between work and play--and how we can mitigate their most damaging effects on our well-being, and the health and happiness of our children.

Adam Alter's previous book, Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave is available in paperback from Penguin.

MANUFACTURING CONSENT: THE POL

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MISINFORMATION AGE

MISINFORMATION AGE

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The social dynamics of "alternative facts" why what you believe depends on who you know

"Empowering and thoroughly researched, this book offers useful contemporary analysis and possible solutions to one of the greatest threats to democracy."--Kirkus Reviews

Editors' choice, New York Times Book Review - Recommended reading, Scientific American

Why should we care about having true beliefs? And why do demonstrably false beliefs persist and spread despite bad, even fatal, consequences for the people who hold them?

Philosophers of science Cailin O'Connor and James Weatherall argue that social factors, rather than individual psychology, are what's essential to understanding the spread and persistence of false beliefs. It might seem that there's an obvious reason that true beliefs matter: false beliefs will hurt you. But if that's right, then why is it (apparently) irrelevant to many people whether they believe true things or not?

The Misinformation Age, written for a political era riven by "fake news," "alternative facts," and disputes over the validity of everything from climate change to the size of inauguration crowds, shows convincingly that what you believe depends on who you know. If social forces explain the persistence of false belief, we must understand how those forces work in order to fight misinformation effectively.

NEWS: A USER'S MANUAL

NEWS: A USER'S MANUAL

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The News: A User's Manual is an insightful analysis of the impact of the incessant news machine on us and our culture.
The news is everywhere. We can't stop constantly checking it on our computer screens, but what is this doing to our minds? We are never taught how to make sense of the torrent of news we face daily, which has a huge influence on our sense of what matters and of how we should lead our lives. Alain de Botton takes twenty-five archetypal news stories--including an airplane crash, a murder, a celebrity interview, and a political scandal--and submits them to intense analysis. Why are disaster stories often so uplifting? Why do we enjoy watching politicians being brought down? Why are upheavals in far-off lands often so boring? What makes the love lives of celebrities so interesting? De Botton has written the ultimate guide for our frenzied era, designed to bring calm, understanding, and a measure of sanity to a news-obsessed age.

POST TRUTH

POST TRUTH

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How we arrived in a post-truth era, when "alternative facts" replace actual facts, and feelings have more weight than evidence.

Are we living in a post-truth world, where "alternative facts" replace actual facts and feelings have more weight than evidence? How did we get here? In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Lee McIntyre traces the development of the post-truth phenomenon from science denial through the rise of "fake news," from our psychological blind spots to the public's retreat into "information silos."

What, exactly, is post-truth? Is it wishful thinking, political spin, mass delusion, bold-faced lying? McIntyre analyzes recent examples--claims about inauguration crowd size, crime statistics, and the popular vote--and finds that post-truth is an assertion of ideological supremacy by which its practitioners try to compel someone to believe something regardless of the evidence. Yet post-truth didn't begin with the 2016 election; the denial of scientific facts about smoking, evolution, vaccines, and climate change offers a road map for more widespread fact denial. Add to this the wired-in cognitive biases that make us feel that our conclusions are based on good reasoning even when they are not, the decline of traditional media and the rise of social media, and the emergence of fake news as a political tool, and we have the ideal conditions for post-truth. McIntyre also argues provocatively that the right wing borrowed from postmodernism--specifically, the idea that there is no such thing as objective truth--in its attacks on science and facts.

McIntyre argues that we can fight post-truth, and that the first step in fighting post-truth is to understand it.

PROPAGANDA

PROPAGANDA

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"Bernays' honest and practical manual provides much insight into some of the most powerful and influential institutions of contemporary industrial state capitalist democracies."--Noam Chomsky

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country."--Edward Bernays, Propaganda

A seminal and controversial figure in the history of political thought and public relations, Edward Bernays (1891-1995), pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion, which he famously dubbed "engineering of consent." During World War I, he was an integral part of the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI), a powerful propaganda apparatus that was mobilized to package, advertise and sell the war to the American people as one that would "Make the World Safe for Democracy." The CPI would become the blueprint in which marketing strategies for future wars would be based upon.

Bernays applied the techniques he had learned in the CPI and, incorporating some of the ideas of Walter Lipmann, became an outspoken proponent of propaganda as a tool for democratic and corporate manipulation of the population. His 1928 bombshell Propaganda lays out his eerily prescient vision for using propaganda to regiment the collective mind in a variety of areas, including government, politics, art, science and education. To read this book today is to frightfully comprehend what our contemporary institutions of government and business have become in regards to organized manipulation of the masses.

This is the first reprint of Propaganda in over 30 years and features an introduction by Mark Crispin Miller, author of The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder.

Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society

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UNITED STATES OF DISTRACTION:

UNITED STATES OF DISTRACTION:

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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.

Praise for United States of Distraction

"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

"A timely and urgent demand re-asserting the central importance of civic pursuits--not commercialism--in U.S. media and society."--Ralph Nader

"Higdon and Huff have produced the best short introduction to the nature of Trump-era journalism and how the 'Post-Truth' media world is inimical to a democratic society that I have seen. The book is provocative and an entertaining read. Best of all, the analysis in United States of Distraction leads to concrete and do-able recommendations for how we can rectify this deplorable situation."--Robert W. McChesney, author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times

"The U.S. wouldn't be able to hide its empire in plain sight were it not for the subservient 'free' press. United States of Distraction shows, in chilling detail, America's major media dysfunction--how the gutting of the fourth estate paved the road for fascism and what tools are critical to salvage our democracy."--Abby Martin, The Empire Files

"Nolan Higdon and Mickey Huff provides us with a fearless and dangerous text that refuses the post-truth proliferation of fake news, disinformation, and media that serve the interests of the few. This is a vital wake-up call for how the public can protect itself against manipulation and authoritarianism through education and public interest media."--George Yancy, author of Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly about Racism in America and Professor of Philosophy at Emory University

"United States of Distraction challenges our hegemon-media's ideological mind control and the occupation of human thought. ... Huff and Higdon correctly call for mass critical resistance through truth telling by free minds. Power to the people!"--Peter Phillips, author of Giants: The Global Power Elite

VIEW FROM SOMEWHERE: UNDOING T

VIEW FROM SOMEWHERE: UNDOING T

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#MeToo. #BlackLivesMatter. #NeverAgain. #WontBeErased. Though both the right- and left-wing media claim "objectivity" in their reporting of these and other contentious issues, the American public has become increasingly cynical about truth, fact, and reality. In The View from Somewhere, Lewis Raven Wallace dives deep into the history of "objectivity" in journalism and how its been used to gatekeep and silence marginalized writers as far back as Ida B. Wells.

At its core, this is a book about fierce journalists who have pursued truth and transparency and sometimes been punished for it--not just by tyrannical governments but by journalistic institutions themselves. He highlights the stories of journalists who question "objectivity" with sensitivity and passion: Desmond Cole of the Toronto Star; New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse; Pulitzer Prize-winner Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah; Peabody-winning podcaster John Biewen; Guardian correspondent Gary Younge; former Buzzfeed reporter Meredith Talusan; and many others. Wallace also shares his own experiences as a midwestern transgender journalist and activist who was fired from his job as a national reporter for public radio for speaking out against "objectivity" in coverage of Trump and white supremacy.

With insightful steps through history, Wallace stresses that journalists have never been mere passive observers--the choices they make reflect worldviews tinted by race, class, gender, and geography. He upholds the centrality of facts and the necessary discipline of verification but argues against the long-held standard of "objective" media coverage that asks journalists to claim they are without bias. Using historical and contemporary examples--from lynching in the nineteenth century to transgender issues in the twenty-first--Wallace offers a definitive critique of "objectivity" as a catchall for accurate journalism. He calls for the dismissal of this damaging mythology in order to confront the realities of institutional power, racism, and other forms of oppression and exploitation in the news industry.

Now more than ever, journalism that resists extractive, exploitive, and tokenistic practices toward marginalized people isn't just important--it is essential. Combining Wallace's intellectual and emotional journey with the wisdom of others' experiences, The View from Somewhere is a compelling rallying cry against journalist neutrality and for the validity of news told from distinctly subjective voices.

WRITING ON THE WALL: SOCIAL ME

WRITING ON THE WALL: SOCIAL ME

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From the bestselling author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses, the story of social media from ancient Rome to the Arab Spring and beyond.

Social media is anything but a new phenomenon. From the papyrus letters that Cicero and other Roman statesmen used to exchange news, to the hand-printed tracts of the Reformation and the pamphlets that spread propaganda during the American and French revolutions, the ways people shared information with their peers in the past are echoed in the present.

Standage reminds us how historical social networks have much in common with modern social media. The Catholic Church's dilemmas in responding to Martin Luther's attacks are similar to those of today's large institutions in responding to criticism on the Internet, for example, and seventeenth-century complaints about the distractions of coffeehouses mirror modern concerns about social media. Invoking figures from Thomas Paine to Vinton Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet, Standage explores themes that have long been debated, from the tension between freedom of expression and censorship to social media's role in spurring innovation and fomenting revolution. Writing on the Wall draws on history to cast provocative new light on today's social media and encourages debate and discussion about how we'll communicate in the future.