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Coloring the News: How Political Correctness Has Corrupted American Journalism [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   200
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 25, 2003
Publisher   Encounter Books
ISBN  1893554600  
EAN  9781893554603  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
William McGowan opens the door to the newsrooms at USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other pillars of the "mainstream press" in this carefully researched investigation of how the quest for "diversity" has affected American journalism. Focusing on coverage of the "diversity issues" of immigration, race, gay rights, feminism and affirmative action, McGowan gives a fascinating analysis of what stories get reported and how. Along the way, he dissects the way the press "mis-told" key stories involving figures like Kara Hultgren (the Navy fighter pilot who died after missing a carrier landing), Kelly Flinn (the Air Force officer cashiered for an affair with a married man) and Patrick Chavis (the black physician who was once a poster boy for affirmative action and then had his license taken away because of medical incompetence). Coloring the News is an impressively documented and provocative book about how a journalism slanted by good intentions has allowed a narrow multicultural orthodoxy to restrict debate just at the point when information about America's changing national identity needs to be robust, knowledgeable and honest.

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More About William McGowan

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! William McGowan is the author of Only Man Is Vile: The Tragedy of Sri Lanka (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and Coloring The News: How Political Correctness Has Corrupted American Journalism (Encounter Books) for which he won a National Press Club Award in 2002. A former editor at the Washington Monthly, he has reported for Newsweek International and the BBC and has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, the New Republic, Columbia Journalism Review and many other national publications. A regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, he has been a frequent commentator on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, NPR, Court TV as well as other cable and broadcast networks. A former Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, he is currently a Media Fellow at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center. He lives in New York City.

William McGowan was born in 1956.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Clear view from the inside  Apr 6, 2007
Though this book condemns mainstream American journalism for its overwhelmingly superficial and one-sided reporting on crucial current social issues -- immigration, "diversity," gay rights and feminism, etc -- it won the 2002 National Press Club Award for press coverage. Black and Hispanic NPC members squawked loudly, of course, but for once good sense prevailed and they were overruled. Thus nobody can justifiably damn the book for being inaccurate; it's vetted by the author's most knowledgeable peers.

McGowan skewers the NY Times and other major papers with his analysis of case after case of failed reporting, heavily biased in favor of this or that minority special-interest group and ignoring the point of view of mainstream Americans. What's most interesting is his explanation of Why.

Like Bernard Goldberg's books "Bias" and "Arrogance," he points out that about 90 percent of our journalists are liberal to left-liberal in their outlook and thus naturally sympathetic to those presenting themselves as downtrodden victims. Another component preventing balanced journalism is the immediate backlash and pressure a reporter can surely expect from the minorities who will be mightily offended at any questioning of their propaganda. McGowan mentions more than one reporter who lost his job within days of writing an honest story about immigrants or the like. The special interest lobbies showed up in the editor's offices and got the writers fired. This is how democracy works today.

The most surprising revelation to the journalistic outsider is the pressures within the newsroom itself. The writer must deal with editor expectations -- and the editor may have a fiat to promote only minority reporters who write certain kinds of stories. An editor will often kill a story if it doesn't fit the party line on high. And the reporter can expect flak from minority colleagues -- black, Hispanic, feminist, gay, whatever -- if it violates their thin-skinned sensibilities, even if the reporter is a member of that group him/herself. Ostracism from one's own minority social group can quickly ensue after the wrong slant to a story. So even the honest reporter will often (usually?) chicken out and write something politically correct. Traditionally the journalist is supposed to be skeptical of his sources, since most may try to give their own self-serving spin. Not any more, it seems, if the source comes from the victim class.

Ultimately, McGowan finds, the rush to force diversity on the journalism profession, from within and without, has led to a corruption of the very goals of diversity to which he himself openly subscribes. Yet the press is one of the primary guardians of our society. If the press is corrupt, ... draw your own conclusions.

McGowan has another book coming soon ("Gray Lady Down"), focusing on the New York Times and the Jayson Blair scandal. I learned a great deal from "Coloring," and am anxious to see what new revelations this very honest and distinguished journalist has for us.
the best press criticism book  Mar 22, 2007
This book, winner of a prestigious journalism award, details how the American mainstream media have covered such issues as race, gay, feminist, immigration, terrorism, etc. The author places himself ideologically: "Neither a conservative nor a liberal, I consider myself a pragmatist." (p. 8).

The overall problem of the news media in America is stated: "Journalism, as I had known it, was distinguished by its gratuitous cynicism, brash iconoclasm and ready impertinence." Now, it has become the home of a few causes that are not to be questioned or criticized, "a crusade across the length and breadth of the American media." (p. 10).

News editors are required to go on special re-education retreats, complete with role-playing and other indoctrination techniques, designed not only to foster the right opinions but the right attitudes. Foundations such as [...], for instance, in the year 2000 alone, gave nearly half a million dollars to [...] two organizations promoting special group journalists.

The results have paid off, as this book shows in case after case. The bottom line is that what you are reading in the mainstream press and seeing on the TV news shows is only one side of a number of complex issues. All events that tend to cause doubt of the prevailing dogma simply are not reported.

To find what is actually going on in America today, read While America Sleeps: How Islam, Immigration and Indoctrination are Destroying America from Within. A large part of why America is "sleeping" is that people are not getting information from the ideologically committed American press.
Biased like all books are biased  Oct 25, 2005
I found this book to be more entertainting than informative. I can no more trust the author's "facts" than I can from any writer in any newspaper. To get "truth" one has to get news from several sources with diferent political bent. Upon reading the reviews on this book I could easily see that 90% of the readers liked the book and I would assume they got from the book what they already believed. Ron Trivane
not the whole story, Billy  Aug 20, 2004
Suggesting that the press is liberal by looking at journalists is a little like suggesting the automotive industry is left wing by observing the work force. There are, of course, the CEOs and board of directors who decide what to make and how much. In viewing the press Mcgowan ignores the editors and corporate owners who went for Bush 2:1 last election. They of course have the ultimate say in what is reported and those distortions can be, and have been, more pernicious. Moreover, their bias is a market bias that seeks not to offend not because of a liberal bias but because of a bias for the bottom line.
Well documented and argued  Aug 20, 2004
In all of my readings on bias in the media, none of been as well documented and argued as McGowan's Coloring the News. McGowan, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, believes that the media's quest for 'diversity' shapes their perspective on how to present the news and what stories to cover. Part of the argument here is that, because news organizations want to 'correct' their historically white-male centered coverage, they are willing to shape stories about minority groups however the groups see fit. This includes not running pictures of accused criminals because it may cause racial backlash (more recently, in a protest at UC Berkeley), and using a quota system to make sure that at least a certain amount of "people around town" pictures that a newspaper runs are African-American.

McGowan's title may be a bit misleading, and potentially a bit controversial, if only for the "coloring" part of the title. McGowan does not single out media coverage of African-Americans, showing that the media also shape their coverage to not offend gays, lesbians and, more recently, Arab-Americans. Instances of these include coverage of gay adoption and racial profiling.

This book is not an easy read. The paperback version is only 250-odd pages, but the text is small and there are few breaks in chapters. I was having difficulty reading it until I got towards the last 100 pages, when the stuff that McGowan documents just becomes so jaw-dropping that one can't believe it is actually true. This includes a Vermont newspaper story that got a writer fired without the normal process of disputing the charges taking place because of a small backlash from an agitator in the community. The agitator was hired by the newspaper to help shape the paper's coverage of the black community and, when an independent source verified that the original article was factually accurate, ended up with the editor's resignation. The book reads a lot like a text book and less like a partisan attack (although at times McGowan is obviously arguing that one point of view is correct, but is still able to show why the coverage, nonetheless, is skewed).

Whereas books like Bias and Spin Sisters rely upon first hand experience of the inner workings of the media, Coloring the News is all about research. Unfortunately, McGowan does not provide footnotes (he does provide notes at the end with descriptions of what he is citing), which, unless you take the time to read the notes at the end, makes it difficult to know exactly what is coming from where.

If you are a member of the media, you must read this book. If you care about media bias, read this book. If you're a casual reader, I can't recommend it to you. The only problems with this book are the textbook-like nature and the lack of inline notes.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

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