We are very pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of the first Media Lens book: Guardians Of Power – The Myth Of The Liberal Media. (Pluto Press, December 2005)
In his foreword to our book, John Pilger writes:
“The creators and editors of Media Lens, David Edwards and David Cromwell, have had such influence in a short time that, by holding to account those who, it is said, write history’s draft, they may well have changed the course of modern historiography. They have certainly torn up the ‘ethical blank cheque’, which Richard Drayton referred to [in the Guardian], and have exposed as morally corrupt ‘the right to bomb, to maim, to imprison without trial…’. Without Media Lens during the attack on and occupation of Iraq, the full gravity of that debacle might have been consigned to oblivion, and to bad history.
“They have not bothered with soft targets, such as Rupert Murdoch’s Sun, but have concentrated on that sector of the media which prides itself on its ‘objectivity’, ‘impartiality’ and ‘balance’ (such as the BBC) and its liberalism and fairness (such as the Guardian). Not since Noam Chomsky’s and Edward Herman’s Manufacturing Consent have we had such an incisive and erudite guide through the media’s thicket of agendas and vested interests. Indeed, they have done the job of true journalists: they have set the record straight.
“For this reason, Guardians of Power ought to be required reading in every media college. It is the most important book about journalism I can remember.”
In his endorsement of the book, Noam Chomsky writes:
“Regular critical analysis of the media, filling crucial gaps and correcting the distortions of ideological prisms, has never been more important. Media Lens has performed a major public service by carrying out this task with energy, insight, and care.”
Edward Herman comments:
“Media Lens is doing an outstanding job of pressing the mainstream media to at least follow their own stated principles and meet their public service obligations. It is fun as well as enlightening to watch their representatives, while sometimes giving straightforward answers to queries, often getting flustered, angry, evasive, and sometimes mis-stating the facts.”
We are delighted with the book and with this positive reaction from people we admire so much – media analysts who have been major inspirations in our work. We are also, of course, looking forward to the reaction of the media to what we have written.
Curiously, we both found the process of writing the book a real eye-opener. Concentrating the most outrageous examples of media bias on the most important issues in such a small space seemed to generate a kind of critical mass in the mind – the propaganda role of the media became far more obvious than usual, with any lingering doubts removed.
Readers may be surprised to learn that the hundreds of Media Alerts we have written (nearly 1,800 pages of analysis) since 2001 have been produced mostly in our spare time after doing paid work. Over the last two years one of us, David Edwards, has been able to work full-time on the project. David Cromwell, however, has continued to do what he can in his spare time in the mornings, evenings and at weekends.
This is extremely frustrating for us. There is so much more that we want to do, so much that we believe we are able to do, but we are held back simply by limited time and energy. We therefore appeal to readers who value what we are doing and who are financially secure, to consider donating to Media Lens. Also, please let us known of any organisations or donors that might be willing to help with the funds we need to continue and expand our work.
Most of us take for granted that we have to pay for corporate newspapers, magazines and TV services. We are determined that Media Lens should remain free. A big part of our motivation is the hope that our work can provide an example, however flawed, of generosity and compassion as a counterpoint to the greed and brutality of the corporate media system.
But however well-intentioned the motivation, the simple fact is that radical media do not come out of thin air and cannot survive on thin air. They +do+ need the support of large numbers of people. We are three people (two editors and one webmaster, Olly Maw), but our work is rooted in the effort, expertise and financial assistance of countless others.
Thanks for your support.
David Edwards, David Cromwell and Olly Maw