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

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

by Norman Solomon
     
 

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"Norman Solomon has been exploring the hard questions for thirty years, asking in particular, why our media serves us so poorly in making sense of the choices we face. War Made Easy looks at the lies we tell ourselves as we annihilate life and liberty and call it freedom."

—Paul Rogat Loeb, editor of The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's

Overview

"Norman Solomon has been exploring the hard questions for thirty years, asking in particular, why our media serves us so poorly in making sense of the choices we face. War Made Easy looks at the lies we tell ourselves as we annihilate life and liberty and call it freedom."

—Paul Rogat Loeb, editor of The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear

You've heard it all before, and you will no doubt hear it again. "Our leaders will do everything they can to avoid war." "They attacked us." "Our enemy is a modern-day Hitler." "This is all about human rights." And, at some point after these and other pronouncements had echoed through the media for weeks or months, American troops marched into Vietnam, Panama, or Iraq. Since the mid- 1960s, American presidents have developed, refined, and perfected powerful propaganda machines for leading the nation to war.

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.

Even more distressing than this heavily orchestrated approach to beating the war drum, Solomon says, is its repeated success. In virtually every instance, a president who wanted to go to war was able to do so with minimal political opposition, substantial cooperation in the media, and the support of most of the public.

War Made Easy is important reading for every American. In addition to documenting a long series of deliberate misdeeds at the highest levels of power, it lays out important guidelines to help us distinguish elements in a propaganda campaign from actual news reporting. By following these simple suggestions, every citizen can become a savvy media critic and, perhaps, help the nation avoid the next costly and unnecessary war.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471694793
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
06/24/2005
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.56(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Norman Solomon is one of the bravest and best American journalists, especially when he is dissecting the topics of war and the media. War Made Easy exposes and explains the lies and deceptions that have misled our nation into vile and bloody disasters from Vietnam to El Salvador to Iraq; it reveals the frequent cowardice and culpability of the US media that often behaves as a propaganda arm of the Pentagon. War Made Easy is a sobering and essential book that Americans should read, share, and discuss."
—John Stauber, co-author of Weapons of Mass Deception and Banana Republicans

"If you don't have fun reading Norman Solomon's War Made Easy, you don't know how to have a good time. This exceptional book will drive our bonkers leaders and their mouthpieces in the US press crazier than they are already. Read one passage each night to your children to protect them from the brain-snatchers and dummy-fication zombies of America's news media of the living dead."
—Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

"If you want to help prevent another war (Iran? Syria?), read War Made Easy now. This is a stop-the-presses book filled with mind-blowing facts about Washington¹s warmongers who keep the Pentagon budget rising. It would be funny if people weren't dying. War Made Easy exposes the grisly game and offers the information we need to stop it."
—Jim Hightower, author of Let’s Stop Beating Around the Bush.

"America's mainstream media didn't launch the war on Iraq, but the Bush administration sure couldn't have waged it without them. The great lesson of War Made Easy is that, alas, such journalistic malfeasance is nothing new; our media have a history of enabling Washington's foreign misadventures. Perhaps if enough people read--and act on--this book, it won't be so easy next time."
—Mark Hertsgaard, journalist and author of On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency.

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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