A veteran journalist decries a lack of responsible reporting.
Investigative journalist Attkisson, winner of five Emmy Awards, mounts a hard-hitting, if hardly novel, critique of the media, which she sees as manipulated and manipulative. Right now, “versions of history and current events are being written and revised in real time according to what powerful interests wish them to say.” Facts that support “The Narrative” are deemed newsworthy while other facts are buried. Instead of doing research and presenting opposing views, writes the author, “a new breed of reporter” aims “to convince you to believe whatever they personally believe.” Attkisson reports her own frustrating experiences at CBS, where her stories were repeatedly quashed and her reporting attacked; although executives wanted her to stay, she left before her contract expired in 2014. Areas where the author identifies egregious bias include the #MeToo movement, the Russia investigation, and biased pollsters; regarding the last, if results “are off trend,” the media discount them. Trump, however, has become “the vehicle that the media at large has used to unleash its furor and redefine journalism in a way it was never defined before,” and Attkisson finds much evidence for ways in which news outlets misquote or misconstrue Trump’s statements. Rarely, though, does she take Trump to task for his many proven lies. The author appends a long list of “major mistakes” about Trump propagated by news sources. These include “photos of immigrant children in cages as if they were new photos taken during the Trump administration” when they were “from 2014 during the Obama administration.” The media condemned Trump for saying, “It’s not our problem,” when referring to Turkey’s assault on Syria, when he said, “It’s not our border.” Attkisson reveals that in 1999, “Gallup found trust in mass media at 55 percent. It had plummeted to 40 percent in 2014.” To counter an even greater dip, the author includes a list of outlets and reporters that she considers trustworthy.
A damning and depressing indictment sure to incite controversy.
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 320
Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020