Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press / Edition 1

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Critics described the first edition of this highly acclaimed book as "fascinating and disturbing," "uplifting" and "infuriating," as well as a "penetrating collection of powerful essays." This highly acclaimed book won the National Press Club’s Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism and was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the most extraordinary titles of 2002.

This expanded and updated edition, edited by former CBS and CNN producer Kristina Borjesson, is more timely and relevant than ever. Several new essays have been added, while others have been updated, revealing shocking new developments.
In the lead chapter, CBS’s top correspondent, Dan Rather, describes in chilling terms how the pressure to be patriotic compelled him and other journalists to censor themselves.
MSNBC’s Ashleigh Banfield speaks frankly about the critical difference between coverage and real journalism and how failing to report all sides of a story has created a very dangerous environment of ignorance.
Former Fox Network producer Charles Reina exposes details of how the news billed as "Fair and Balanced" is also a political tool that is shaped daily via an executive memo distributed electronically to Fox’s news staff every morning, addressing what stories will be covered and often suggesting how they should be covered.
A new chapter on Iraq by investigative reporter Charlotte Dennett presents a riveting angle on the subject that no one in the press has dared to examine — until now.
Pulitzer nominee John Kelly writes a troubling update on recent deadly CIA operations carried out as part of the War on Terrorism.
Jane Akre’s update on the precedent-setting outcome of her legal fight with Fox News over her investigation of Monsanto’s bovine growth hormone will unsettle, if not anger, journalists and the general public alike.
Kristina Borjesson’s new introduction examines how issues of censorship have, since the 9/11 tragedy and Into the Buzzsaw’s initial release, become front-page news on an almost daily basis.
Indeed, many journalists and increasing numbers of the general public view the control, suppression, manipulation, and distortion of information in news to have reached a crisis level — to the point of posing a significant threat to a free American society.

Among the other contributors are: CBS’s award winning investigative producer Helen Malmgren; veteran investigative journalist and author of DuPont: Behind the Nylon Curtain Gerard Colby; veteran print journalist and editor David Hendrix; founder and Director Emeritus of Project Censored Carl Jensen; former DEA agent-turned-journalist and best-selling author Michael Levine; author or editor of seven books, including Rich Media, Poor Democracy, Robert McChesney; award-winning CBS documentary producer Maurice Murad; independent investigative reporter and author of the current bestseller The Best Democracy Money Can Buy Greg Palast; New York Daily News investigative reporter J. Robert Port; Emmy Award-winning producer and author Monika Jensen-Stevenson; Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Gary Webb; and New York Observer columnist Philip Weiss.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this uneven yet illuminating anthology, editor Borjesson succinctly explains the journalist's predicament: "The buzzsaw is what can rip through you when you try to investigate or expose anything this country's large institutions be they corporate or government want kept under wraps." Indeed, if members of the general public read this book, or even portions of it, they will be appalled. To the uninitiated reader, the accounts of what goes on behind the scenes at major news organizations are shocking. Executives regularly squelch legitimate stories that will lower their ratings, upset their advertisers or miff their investors. Unfortunately, this dirt is unlikely to reach unknowing news audiences, as this volume's likely readership is already familiar with the current state of journalism. Here, Murrow Award-winning reporter Borjesson edits essays by journalists from the Associated Press to CBS News to the New York Times. Each tells of their difficulties with news higher-ups as they tried to publish or air controversial stories relating to everything from toxic dump sites and civilian casualties to police brutality and dangerous hospitals. Some, like BBC reporter Greg Palast's, are merely rants against "corporate" journalism, but others, like New York Observer columnist Philip Weiss's, will serve as meaningful lessons to nascent and veteran writers alike. Most of the sentiments here are especially relevant given the current reports of the war in Afghanistan and questions of their validity, making this timely and essential reading for students and scholars of journalism. (Mar.) Forecast: With Bernard Goldberg's Bias riding high on bestseller lists, Borjesson's offering on news media manipulation is bound to attract serious attention and sales. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The first edition of this book (LJ 3/1/02) appeared during the early months of the Bush administration's war on terror. Since then, the climate for investigative journalism has only become more repressive. This updated edition, which adds about 80 pages of new material, begins with a BBC interview in which Dan Rather admits that, to avoid appearing unpatriotic, he has refrained from questioning government policy. In the other new chapters, Charles Reina exposes the political pedigree of Fox News Channel, Ashleigh Banfield describes the obstacles to covering the Iraq war, and Charlotte Dennett reveals the "Great Game for Oil" underlying the war on terror. Borjesson, an award-winning investigative reporter, began collecting stories of government and corporate censorship after her own horrific experience while investigating the crash of TWA Flight 800. She hopes that journalists, policymakers, and the public will be sufficiently alarmed by these candid accounts to begin building "the nation's first independent mass media network." Highly recommended for all journalism collections but an optional purchase for public libraries that have the first edition.-Susan M. Colowick, Timberland Regional Lib., Tumwater, WA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-The buzzsaw, explains Borjesson, is what journalists encounter when they attempt to reveal information that the nation's "large institutions-be they corporate or government-" prefer to keep secret. She presents 18 firsthand accounts by authors and print and television producers and reporters who challenged the media structure, often with devastating results to their careers. While Borjesson's and David Hendrix's narratives on the 1996 TWA Flight 800 disaster alone are worth the price of the book, other contributors chronicle their experiences with everything from books suppressed by the publishing industry to drug-war "shills" (those hoping to convince an audience that the "game is honest") to Bobby Garwood, who spent 14 years as a POW in Vietnam. Self-censorship is rife, they say, forcing limits on what constitutes news and whose voice is being heard. This desperate state of modern journalism relates directly to the fact that while good investigative reporting demands time, money, and risk, news executives are more concerned with profitability. Suggested reforms include providing "news that matters" and a return to the First Amendment's promise of a "free press." Many of the essays are blunt; all are provocative, substantiated by examples and evidence. The issues each one raises should spark lively debates in journalism and government classes and stimulate the critical thinking of news consumers. A brief biography and photograph of the contributor prefaces each chapter.-Dori DeSpain, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The buzzsaw is what reporters call the powerful system of censorship in the US that is revealed to those investigating extremely sensitive stories, usually having to do with high-level government or corporate malfeasance. Here a group of journalists, who usually avoid collaboration and the spotlight, risk the blade by describing their encounters with it. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591022305
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 9/25/2004
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 625,680
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Kristina Borjesson is an Emmy and Murrow Award-winning investigative reporter, who has worked for CBS and CNN.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 9
Ch. 1 The patriot and the censor's necklace : an interview with BBC culture correspondent Madeleine Holt 35
Ch. 2 The memo 43
Ch. 3 A shot messenger's observations 47
Ch. 4 The war on terror and the great game for oil : how the media missed the context 61
Ch. 5 The price of liberty 93
Ch. 6 Crimes and silence : the CIA's criminal acts and the media's silence 115
Ch. 7 The mighty Wurlitzer plays on 141
Ch. 8 Mainstream media : the drug war's shills 157
Ch. 9 The silence of the lambs : an American in journalistic exile 195
Ch. 10 The fox, the hounds, and the sacred cows 207
Ch. 11 The story no one wanted to hear 239
Ch. 12 Verdict first, evidence later : the case for Bobby Garwood 253
Ch. 13 Into the buzzsaw 283
Ch. 14 Coal mine canaries 331
Ch. 15 When black becomes white 363
Ch. 16 Stories we love, stories we hate 377
Ch. 17 Shouting at the crocodile 389
Ch. 18 What happened to good old-fashioned muckraking? 417
Ch. 19 The rise and fall of professional journalism 435
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2004

    Cautionary tales on the 'free press'

    Every college journalism student should be required to read this book. It is alarming and sobering, but explains a lot how the government and media corporations frame the news so that the most critical information is often suppressed and doesn't pass into history. When journalists step out of line and try to tell the truth, they find themselves ostracized and often have their careers derailed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2003


    This is a book that everyone in this country should read, and then act on. Without a free press and an informed and active citizenry, we will lose the freedoms we have in this country.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2002

    Jounalist Confessions of Censorship

    I was delighted to purchase this book after listening to the author/editor being interviewed on community radio WBAI. After reading the book I understand why I've never seen her on any of the mainstream media programs. A great compilation of essays from award winning Investigative Journalists that passionately detail the 'stories behind the censored stories'. The concentration of the mainsteam media in the hands of conglomorate empires assures us that dissenting opinions will continue to become muted and marginalized - thus putting our constitutional guarantee of Free Speech and Free Press in the Orwellian trash basket. I was reminded of a line of rap lyrics that suddenly became very clear - "...the revolution will not be televised" . A great resource to accompany other valuable books on the same topic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2002


    Decrying the decline of American investigative reporting, this anthology, by seasoned, award winning journalists, details both the subtle and heavy handed ways in which news media information is managed by corporate and government forces. Some of the contributors had run-ins with well-known mainstream "journalists" like Dan Rather. Indeed, several top reporters and TV producers who contribute to INTO THE BUZZSAW and who wouldn't toe the line describe how for simply trying to report important news cost them their jobs. Especially intriguing is the chapter by former 60 MINUTES producer, Monika Jensen-Stevenson, "Verdict First, Evidence Later: The Case for Bobby Garwood." The Vietnam POW Garwood escaped from his North Vietnamese captors after 14 years, and upon his return to the United States was prosecuted for desertion. Jensen-Stevenson chronicles how the U.S., with the complicity of the communist Vietnam government, railroaded Garwood while the American press remained silent.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2002

    Illuminating....and very disturbing

    This is a book that every American who treasures democracy should read. If it were to gain wide readership, it might just be possible to transform our popular media into the "government and corporate watchdogs" that we need them to be, but which they are not. Particularly helpful in understanding how our media became co-opted by powerful government and corporate institutions is the final chapter, which gives an historical perspective on the role of professional journalism.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2002

    'Into the Buzzsaw' is a must-read

    Books about the media--from apologist texts to those catering to the belief of media-as-incarnate-evil--abound. None is as well-written, intelligent, illuminating and intriguing as ¿Into the Buzzsaw,¿ a collection of war (and horror) stories from leading professional journalists. Trite expressions such as ¿jaw-dropping¿ cannot adequately describe the conspiracies and outrages these courageous ¿media people¿ have at long last exposed. The book should be required reading for every person in America, if not the world.

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