“Newspeak in the 21st Century” review

“Newspeak in the 21st Century” review

Newspeak in the 21st Century

by David Edwards and David Cromwell
Pluto Press, 2009

The authors run the Media Lens website, which challenges the unbalanced view of events provided by mainstream media. In this book they explore in great depth how the news we receive can be biased towards the establishment or corporate agenda. Even those sources regarded as reliable, the Independent, the Guardian, the BBC and Channel 4, give mixed messages. The Guardian, for instance, highly regarded for its stance on environmental matters, relies heavily on adverts by the motor industry for fuel-hungry cars.

Taking well-known issues – climate change, Israel/Palestine, the Iraq invasion, the Lancet Reports on Iraqi dead – they demonstrate how selectively the news is presented to the public; how hard evidence from one side can be dismissed in favour of a statement from a nameless ‘government spokesman’; how a ‘balanced’ report is anything but. Reading the justifications given by news editors for the way they report a particular event, makes me wonder why we buy papers or watch the news at all, except that all campaigners for peace should be well informed. This is not a comfortable book to read, but it will make you look again at how you are manipulated into taking certain views, make you more discriminating in your analysis of events, more aware of what is really happening in the world.

There are many alternative sources of news. On the Links page of this website, there is a list of just some of the sources that give the other side of the news.