War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death

Overview

"In War Made Easy, nationally syndicated columnist, media critic, and author Norman Solomon cuts through the dense web of spin to probe and scrutinize the key "perception management" techniques that have played huge roles in the promotion of American wars in recent decades." This user-friendly guide to disinformation parses the preludes to American military adventures past and present. It reveals striking similarities in the efforts of various administrations to justify, and retain, public support for war. This proven formula includes everything
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War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death

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Overview

"In War Made Easy, nationally syndicated columnist, media critic, and author Norman Solomon cuts through the dense web of spin to probe and scrutinize the key "perception management" techniques that have played huge roles in the promotion of American wars in recent decades." This user-friendly guide to disinformation parses the preludes to American military adventures past and present. It reveals striking similarities in the efforts of various administrations to justify, and retain, public support for war. This proven formula includes everything from demonizing the enemy and proclaiming the selflessness of American motives to disseminating inaccurate "facts" and dispatching armies of well-briefed pundits to repeat them ceaselessly in the media and brand any opposition as unpatriotic and anti-American.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* Media critic Solomon (Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You) looks at the pro-war propaganda generated by the U.S. government during military interventions, emphasizing the influence of the media upon public opinion. He begins in 1965, when President Johnson crafted public messages as he sent troops to the Dominican Republic. Solomon claims that LBJ's handling of this invasion established the prototype for a media agenda employed by subsequent presidents to create public approval for their actions. He finds several formulaic messages that help persuade the public to support military intervention. These include portraying America as a fair and noble superpower, whose honest leaders work hard to avoid war, and the enemy leader as an aggressive, Hitler-like violator of human rights who will do much harm unless the United States intervenes. Solomon's timely analysis, which continues through the current war in Iraq, provides the public, analysts, and journalists with useful tips on how to evaluate the prewar messages of any administration, current or historical. Of interest to both public and academic libraries.-Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ. Libs., Washington, DC (Library Journal, July 15, 2005)

"An engaging book that helps explain how the myth-making machine works." (The Texas Observer, July 8, 2005)

"Brutally persuasive...a must-read for those who would like greater context with their bitter morning coffee, or to arm themselves for the debates about Iraq that are still to come." (Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2005)

Library Journal
Media critic Solomon (Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You) looks at the pro-war propaganda generated by the U.S. government during military interventions, emphasizing the influence of the media upon public opinion. He begins in 1965, when President Johnson crafted public messages as he sent troops to the Dominican Republic. Solomon claims that LBJ's handling of this invasion established the prototype for a media agenda employed by subsequent presidents to create public approval for their actions. He finds several formulaic messages that help persuade the public to support military intervention. These include portraying America as a fair and noble superpower, whose honest leaders work hard to avoid war, and the enemy leader as an aggressive, Hitler-like violator of human rights who will do much harm unless the United States intervenes. Solomon's timely analysis, which continues through the current war in Iraq, provides the public, analysts, and journalists with useful tips on how to evaluate the prewar messages of any administration, current or historical. Of interest to both public and academic libraries.-Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ. Libs., Washington, DC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471694793
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 6/24/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,478,645
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

NORMAN SOLOMON is a nationally syndicated columnist and the Executive Director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He has appeared on many television and radio news programs and is the coauthor of Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You.
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Table of Contents

Prologue : building agendas for war 1
1 America is a fair and noble superpower 27
2 Our leaders will do everything they can to avoid war 35
3 Our leaders would never tell us outright lies 55
4 This guy is a modern-day Hitler 63
5 This is about human rights 75
6 This is not at all about oil or corporate profits 87
7 They are the aggressors, not us 97
8 If this war is wrong, Congress will stop it 103
9 If this war is wrong, the media will tell us 113
10 Media coverage brings war into our living rooms 133
11 Opposing the war means siding with the enemy 155
12 This is a necessary battle in the war on terrorism 167
13 What the U.S. government needs most is better PR 177
14 The Pentagon fights wars as humanely as possible 185
15 Our soldiers are heroes, theirs are inhuman 203
16 America needs the resolve to kick the "Vietnam syndrome" 211
17 Withdrawal would cripple U.S. credibility 221
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2005

    Disturbing

    This book opens with a disturbing prologue. The U.S. media has refused to give serious coverage to the Downing Street Memos on the grounds that they are 'old news.' In the initial pages of his book, and supplemented by the rest, Solomon makes a case that both outdoes and undoes that claim. Solomon outdoes the 'old news' claim by providing evidence that the Bush Administration's campaign to take the country to war in Iraq on the basis of lies was remarkably similar to President Lyndon Johnson's use of the media when he wanted to attack the Dominican Republic and Reagan's when he was inclined to invade Grenada, not to mention Bush the First's when Panama was his chosen victim. In fact, Solomon draws disturbing parallels to Johnson and Nixon's lies about Vietnam, Reagan's about Libya and Lebanon, Bush the First's about the First Gulf War and about Haiti, Clinton's about Haiti, Yugoslavia, the Sudan, Afghanistan, and Somalia, and Bush Jr.'s all too recent lies about Afghanistan. There just doesn't seem to be anything new about a president taking this country to war on the basis of laughably bad lies that anyone who was paying attention never fell for. Solomon undoes the 'old news' claim by documenting how hard the media has always made it for people to be paying proper attention. Not only are the Downing Street Memos not old news to most American media consumers, who've never been told what's in them, but the facts about many past wars are still not known to much of the country. The Washington Post has never apologized for or retracted the Jessica Lynch fictionalization, but that itself is nothing new. Solomon writes: 'In July 1998 I asked a number of Washington Post staffers whether the newspaper ever retracted its Gulf of Tonkin reporting. Finally, the trail led to someone with a definitive answer. 'I can assure you that there was never any retraction,' said Murrey Marder, a reporter who wrote much of the Washington Post's political coverage of Tonkin Gulf events in August 1964. He added: 'If you were making a retraction, you'd have to make a retraction of virtually everyone's entire coverage of the Vietnam War.'' The Washington Post further distinguishes itself in Solomon's account of past media coverage of wars with this opinion it published when Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the Vietnam War: 'King has diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.' Damn liberal media! Of course, many of the facts that Solomon employs in his critique of the media's role as megaphone for presidential warmongering falsehoods come from the media. But they come from passing stories in lower paragraphs on back pages, not from endlessly repeated headlines and sound bites. Solomon does not present a lot of new information in his book, but by gathering together key facts from extensive research he performs the reporting that he criticizes the media for failing to have done. A good analogy for much of the U.S. media's coverage of war, I think, is the coverage Samuel Eliot Morison, the Harvard historian, gave to Columbus in a text book critiqued by Howard Zinn in the opening pages of 'A People's History of the United States.' Zinn writes: 'One can lie outright about the past. Or one can omit facts which might lead to unacceptable conclusions. Morison does neither. He refuses to lie about Columbus. He does not omit the story of mass murder indeed he describes it with the harshest word one can use: genocide. 'But he does something else ¿ he mentions the truth quickly and goes on to other things more important to him. Outright lying or quiet omission takes the risk of discovery which, when made, might arouse the reader to rebel against the writer. To state the facts, however, and then to bury them in a mass of other information is to say to the reader with a certain infectious calm: yes, mass murder took place, but it's not that important ¿ it should way very little in our fin

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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