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Why Are We The Good Guys?

WHY ARE WE THE GOOD GUYS? 

Reclaiming Your Mind from the Delusions of Propaganda

by David Cromwell

Publication date: September 2012

Pages: 317

Paperback

ISBN: 978 1 78099 365 2 Paperback
Price: £16.95 / US$26.95
Support your local independent bookshop and order the book online at hive.co.uk

Synopsis

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.

Endorsements:

"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

Interviews

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

 

Reviews

Morning Star

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

Zenpolitics

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

 

The Hindu

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

Zero Books

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,[1]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".[2] 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

 

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Guardians Of Power

The First Media Lens book, published in 2006

GUARDIANS OF POWER

The Myth of the Liberal Media

by David Edwards and David Cromwell

Publication date: 2006

Pages: 240pp Size: DEMY (215x135mm)

 

Paperback

ISBN: 0745324827 Paperback
Price: £14.99 / $24.95 / €22.50

eBook

This title is now available as an eBook from the following websites:

Synopsis

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.

John Pilger says...

“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.”

Noam Chomsky says...

"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 says...

"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."

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgements
Foreword by John Pilger
1 The Mass Media – Neutral, Honest, Psychopathic
2 Iraq – The Sanctions of Mass Destruction
3

Iraq Disarmed – Burying the 1991-98 Weapons Inspections

4 Iraq – Gunning For War And Burying The Dead
5 Afghanistan – Let Them Eat Grass
6 Kosovo – Real Bombs, Fictional Genocide
7 East Timor – The Practical Limits Of Crusading Humanitarianism
8 Haiti – The Hidden Logic Of Exploitation
9 Idolatry Ink – Reagan,The ‘Cheerful Conservative’ And ‘Chubby Bubba’ Clinton
10 Climate Change – The Ultimate Media Betrayal
11 Disciplined Media – Professional Conformity To Power
12 Towards A Compassionate Media
13 Full Human Dissent
Resources

Index

Reviews of the book
Interviews about the book
Extracts from the book

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Free To Be Human

FREE TO BE HUMAN

Intellectual Self-Defence in an Age of Illusions

by David Edwards

Publication date: April 2000
Pages: 256

Paperback

ISBN:1870098889 Paperback
Price: £10.95
Buy now               

Intellectual Self-Defence in an Age of Illusions

"Often raw and uncompromising, but it is precisely this quality that lifts it above the familiar blend of green bland and blather." - Jonathon Porritt

"This is Namaste's book of the year. Why? Because this is a book that urges the reader to look at the world from a wider perspective. Although written in 1993, everything about which the author has written is so relevant today. It is full of wisdom that does not rely on other people's research. . . . This book shows all of us ways in which we can change, by questioning how we live and think." ? Namaste Magazine

Building on the work of writers such as Chomsky and Herman, David Edwards shows how the propaganda system distorts our understanding of political, personal and spiritual issues, ensuring that we remain passive, conformist, confused and uninformed - and willing to accept the irrational values of corporate consumerism. He argues that we need to master the arts of 'intellectual self-defence', in order to become able to challenge the 'necessary illusions' of a system that subordinates people and planet to the drive for profit.

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Private Planet

Private Planet

Corporate Plunder and the Fight Back

by David Cromwell

Publication date: July 2001
Pages: 256

Paperback

ISBN:1897766629 Paperback
Price: £9.72
Buy now                

"The question is... what we need to do in order to achieve a fairer and more sustainable future." Barry Coates, director of the World Development Movement

Book Description

Climate scientist and green activist David Cromwell examines how and why the forces of globalization are opposing ecological sustainability, human rights, and social justice, and draws on examples from around the world to show what we can do to reverse the process. He makes the point that centralized state and corporate power is vulnerable to significant grassroots awareness and activism. There is ample cause for hope and cautious optimism.

John Pilger, journalist and documentary filmmaker:
'The fightback against the inequalities of globalisation has begun in earnest. David Cromwell's book provides us with a powerful weapon of words that is both incisive and encouraging.'
 
Dr Caroline Lucas, Green MEP:
'World trade rules have to be changed - it's that simple. David Cromwell has done us all a favour by revealing the sustainable alternatives and citizen resistance that rarely get reported in the media. Private Planet is compelling, warm-hearted and ultimately hopeful.'
 
Andy Rowell, author of Green Backlash:
'Cool-headed, clear, compelling. Read Private Planet if you want to be able to read between the lines of political and corporate rhetoric.'
 
Barry Coates, director of the World Development Movement:
'The question is not whether globalisation is creating massive social and environmental damage - it is - but what we need to do in order to achieve a fairer and more sustainable future. Private Planet makes a provocative and important contribution to the development of alternatives.'
 
New Internationalist magazine:
'Written in fluent, unpretentious prose, Private Planet is the best summary so far of corporate globalization and the urgent reasons there are to resist it. Anyone who wants to catch up and join in should start here.'
 
The Scotsman:
'Cromwell makes his case with cogency and force.'
 
Zac Goldsmith, editor of The Ecologist:
'[A] compelling book... Private Planet covers a lot of ground and, having read it, you probably won't take mainstream news at face value ever again... Read this book and empower yourself.'
 
Patrick Nicholson, Scientists for Global Responsibility:
'As I began reading this book I found myself making comparisons with George Monbiot's Captive State. The two books deal with similar themes, but David Cromwell's offering is a broader and more ambitious attempt to address globalisation in the worldwide context. I have to say that I found Private Planet both a more useful and a more enjoyable read.'
 
Malcom Aitken, Greenevents:
'A comprehensive and fluent polemic that will prove invaluable to anyone wanting to understand globalisation.'
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Surviving Climate Change

Surviving Climate Change

The Struggle to Avert Global Catastrophe

Edited by David Cromwell and Mark Levene

Publication date: October 2007
Pages: 256

Paperback

ISBN:9780745325675 Paperback
Price: £15.99
Buy now

Hardback

ISBN:9780745325682 hardback
Price: £50.00
Buy now

 

Book Description

-- World's leading climate campaigners offer practical solutions --

"An insightful and inspiring collection from some of the foremost thinkers on climate change. Not to be missed." Mark Lynas, author of High Tide (Flamingo/HarperCollins, 2004)

"A visionary and hopeful book -- an essential survival guide in turbulent times."

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP for South East England

Climate change is a pressing reality. From hurricane Katrina to melting polar ice, and from mass extinctions to increased threats to food and water security, the link between corporate globalisation and planetary blowback is becoming all too evident.

Governments and business keep reassuring the public they are going to fix the problem. This book brings together some leading activists who disagree. They expose the inertia, denial, deception -- even threats to our civil liberties -- which comprise mainstream responses from civil and military policy makers, and from opinion formers in the media, corporations and academia.

An epochal change is called for in the way we all engage with the climate crisis. Key to that change is Aubrey Meyer's proposed 'Contraction and Convergence' framework for limiting global carbon emissions. This book, which also includes contributions by Mayer Hillman and George Marshall, is a powerful and vital guide to how mass mobilisation can avert the looming catastrophe.

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