WHY ARE WE THE GOOD GUYS?
Reclaiming Your Mind from the Delusions of Propaganda
by David Cromwell
Publication date: September 2012
ISBN: 978 1 78099 365 2 Paperback
Can a corporate media system be expected to tell the truth about a world dominated by corporations? Can newspapers, including the ‘liberal’ “Guardian” and the “Independent,” tell the truth about catastrophic climate change – about its roots in mass consumerism and corporate obstructionism – when they are themselves profit-oriented businesses dependent on advertisers for 75 per cent of their revenues? Can the BBC tell the truth about UK government crimes in Iraq when its senior managers are appointed by the government? Has anything fundamentally changed since BBC founder Lord Reith wrote of the establishment: “They know they can trust us not to be really impartial”? Why did the British and American mass media fail to challenge even the most obvious government lies on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction before the invasion in March 2003? Why did the media ignore the claims of UN weapons inspectors that Iraq had been 90-95 per cent “fundamentally disarmed” as early as 1998? This book answers these questions, and more.
“One of the beacons in a politically dark world is the light cast by a moral few who analyse and reveal how journalism works in the cause of power. David Cromwell has pride of place in this company. Every member of the public and every journalist with an ounce of scepticism about authority should read his outstanding book.”
John Pilger, journalist and documentary maker
“This book is truly essential reading, focusing on one of the key issues, if not THE issue, of our age: how to recognise the deep, everyday brainwashing to which we are subjected, and how to escape from it. This book brilliantly exposes the extent of media disinformation, and does so in a compelling and engaging way.”
Mark Curtis, author of Web of Deceit and Unpeople
“Propaganda is something they do; news what we do. They commit terror; we seek to create stability. Our enemies are inhuman; we, only too human, occasionally demonstrate our fallibility. David Cromwell brilliantly exposes the daily lies our media feed us to reassure us that we are a force for good in the world, while our governments, militaries and corporations are free to rape and pillage weaker nations and the planet. This book is an invaluable antidote to the conditioning that all those living in the west are constantly subjected to.”
Jonathan Cook, author of Disappearing Palestine
Cromwell displays his unbending commitment to follow the facts wherever they lead. Asks the questions about “our” leaders that polite society and the mainstream media will not go near. An indispensable tool of intellectual self defence.
David Miller, co-author of A Century of Spin, co-founder of Spinwatch, Professor of Sociology at the University of Bath.
“David Cromwell knows that media power works by acting on consciousness; by shaping our individual sense of values, identity and belonging to normalise the mores of the powerful. This creates the collective false self of a ‘we’ that controls the hammer of violence, leaving more violated empathy and senselessness in its wake. How do we wake up from the frozen awareness of such psychic numbing? Understanding the drivers and techniques of media power is a good starting point. This is what Why Are We The Good Guys? sets out to do, and valiantly so.”
Professor Alastair McIntosh, author of Soil and Soul
“Part memoir, part media critique, Why Are We The Good Guys? is also an eye-opening survey of “things they don’t want you to know”. If you’ve ever been curious about Media Lens, Britain’s most radical media monitoring group, co-founder David Cromwell explains how it came about and produces examples of its polite but in-your-face approach to dealing with journalists. A valuable account of an invaluable project.”
Milan Rai, activist, co-editor of Peace News and author of War Plan
- An Interview with David Cromwell from Green Left Weekly
How an activist fathered a media critic
- Is this the most controversial book of the 21st century?
A feature article in the Southern Daily Echo
In his essential 1995 book Taking the Risk Out Of Democracy, Australian social psychologist Alex Carey notes that it is “an axiom of conventional wisdom that the use of propaganda as a means of social and ideological control is distinctive of totalitarian regimes.”
However, disconcertingly, Carey explains that propaganda is “likely to play at least as important a part in democratic societies – where the existing distribution of power and privilege is vulnerable to quite limited changes in popular opinion – as in authoritarian societies, where it is not.”
Read the full review here: www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/126536
Before reaching the actual text, the title of David Cromwell’s latest book denotes an effective piece of radical art in posing the simple, probing question: Why Are We the Good Guys? As co-editor of Media Lens, the book’s subtitle is no less appropriate and invitational: Reclaiming Your Mind From the Delusions of Propaganda.
Read the full review here: http://johnhilley.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/review-david-cromwell-why-are-we-good.html
David Cromwell has, often in collaboration with David Edwards, become an authoritative analyst of the Anglophone mass media; his latest book will strike a chord with many who think about the corporate media’s content and methods, not least millions worldwide who have found that if they question an established order the media largely suppress or exclude their voices.
Cromwell discovered this early. At junior school, he voted Communist in a mock election, but his teacher said Labour had won anyway, and she would not count the Communist vote.
Read the full review here www.thehindu.com/arts/books/the-improbability-of-truth/article4068039.ece
I struggled with this book review. I struggled to find something to disagree with or to suggest an improvement. This is a tremendously comprehensive review of all the ways in which mainstream Western media distort our view of reality in the key context of foreign affairs. With a particular emphasis on the Middle East but with good historical depth rooting understanding in US policy after World War II, Cromwell does an excellent job of organising a wide range of evidence, neglected by our media, yet fundamental to any meaningful understanding of our deeply embedded bad faith. The bad faith, which enables our media and many of its consumers to think that we are ‘the good guys’. This is an ideal introduction for any reader and, also, is a very useful source for students in schools, colleges and universities. Flaws? I found one! When you’ve finished with this excellent book, go on to read Edward Said whose ‘Orientalism’ will deepen your understanding of how ‘The West’, including the liberal academic elite, is imbued with discriminatory biases regarding Arabs and Islam. ~ Dr John Robertson, Reader in Media Politics, University of West Scotland.
Read full review here www.zero-books.net/books/why-are-we-the-good-guys
New Left Project
Since 2001, David Cromwell, his co-founder David Edwards, and their supporters and subscribers, have been attempting to “correct for the distorted vision of the corporate media”, by which we all gather information about the world. This distorted vision has its own strange declension, in which “we” have a government, while “they” have a regime; “we” intervene, “they” attack; “we” act in accordance with values, while “they” pursue interests and ambitions; and so on.
The “good guys” in question, in case you were wondering, are not Media Lens themselves, but the West, or more specifically the US-UK-NATO bloc, and the elites of the global North, prepared to sacrifice the prosperity, lives, and the very possibility of existence of billions of people in their pursuit of power, wealth and resources. In common with two previous Media Lens books,WAWTGG features further reports from Cromwell and Edwards’ encounters with, in the words of Edward Herman, those representatives of “experts and the mainstream media” whose function it is “to normalize the unthinkable for the general public”. There is, in these reports, a focus on the big themes that feature in most of Media Lens’ work: the wars in Afghanistan and and Iraq; military adventures across the Middle East; climate change; and the financial crisis.
Read Full Review here www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/media_lens_an_autobiography