The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media

The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media

by Brooke Gladstone, Josh Neufeld


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"Mind-opening, thought-provoking and incredibly timely… An absolutely spectacular read."—Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing

A million listeners trust NPR's Brooke Gladstone to guide them through the complexities of the modern media. Bursting onto the page in vivid comics by acclaimed artist Josh Neufeld, this brilliant radio personality guides us through two millennia of media history, debunking the notion that "The Media" is an external force beyond our control and equipping us to be savvy consumers and shapers of the news.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393342468
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 05/07/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 81,323
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Brooke Gladstone is cohost of NPR’s On the Media and former senior editor of All Things Considered. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Josh Neufeld is the author of the New York Times bestseller A. D.: New Orleans After the Deluge and A Few Perfect Hours. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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A great book.

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The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
AngelaCinVA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gladstone¿s presentation is clear and balanced. Neufeld¿s illustrations are a perfect match for the tone and help clarify the concepts. This book goes beyond the idea of media as newspapers, radio and TV to examine concepts like information overload and the way technology is changing how we interact with the news.
Asperula on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the kind of book I am bound to be a sucker for - a news person that I really like, coupled with a graphic artist I love. Brooke gives a great overview of media through the ages - and Josh Neufeld creates the drawings that make the story come to life with the personalities and events that made the history.
Capfox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Complaints about the media are pretty rife, in just about any time, it seems, along with a lot of misconceptions about how it's worked in the past. In this book, Gladstone sets out to try to address these problems with a historical overview of the topic, starting from the Mayans and the Romans, but mostly focusing on the US context through the years. Along the way, she goes through a good amount of history and historical figures (Jefferson definitely switched his views once he was in office, but still stayed in favor of a free press to the end), philosophers, and quotes from authors, journalists and poets about how they feel about the press. For a fairly short book, you come away feeling like you've picked up a lot on the topic.Gladstone addresses a good amount about how people have felt about objectivity through the years, as compared to disclosure, discusses the different kinds of bias, talks about changes in how people have dealt with censorship, with covering wars, with changes in media, and other sorts of exciting topics. That was meant unsarcastically; I rather like discussions about media, so this was a good fit for me, but if you're not into the topic as a matter of general interest, this might still be a good book for you, and get you think about the topic.I wasn't sure at the outset how well the graphic format would fit the discussion, but I've read a bunch of non-fiction comic setups through the years, and so I had an open mind about it. This actually was a nice hybrid; the pictures were crisp, well done, with the green tones making it feel somehow historic, and illustrated the point, or even carried it, sometimes, but there were also occasional pages of text to make the point where the pictures might have gotten in the way. In other words, the pictures and the words were both used quite judiciously.On the whole, this was a really quite interesting book, if not super in depth, and a nice, fast and easy read. It's a worthy match for some of the other non-fiction comics I've read, like various books by Larry Gonick, for example, and I'm open to trying more of this sort of thing now.
adzebill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What do we call this? It's not a graphic novel, more a sort of documentary comic. Similar in tone to Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, this is a tour through the history and issues of the media, with what feels like a switch in gears in the last third to as critique of the way we interact with the internet generally. I would love to see it used as the the textbook for a media studies course, as it's well referenced, entertaining, full of arresting anecdotes, and a fertile mix of good discussion topics. Plus it's slim and undergrads would actually read it.
esswedl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Aside from one quibble I have over her reading of Yeats, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This comic book is cute and Gladstone is impressed with her own cuteness. She states, and restates the obvious, posing as a balanced and understanding voice of reason she dosen't seem to notice herself as a creature of the left as much as a hipper than thou paladin of righteous journalistic virtue. And realize this really is a set of comics not a book. Your money will be better spent. and you'll find deeper insights, picking up a Calvin and Hobbes anthology.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be quite interesting and informatitve. Graphic novels such as these are an amazing find, because it takes a subject some may turn away and adds an extra dimension to enhance its palatability. Now unlike UncleDennis (the previous reviewer) I do enjoy both graphic novels and standard novels, and I find both formats to be of value. UncleDennis mentioned a book by Tim Groseclose called Left Turn, and if you enjoy the topic of media bias I would recommend both books (although Gloseclose suggests that the Wall Street Journal is one of the hardest left leaning media outlets out there, I believe Mr. Murdock would disagree). So, I would say that anyone who enjoys a good historical run through on the develop on the media, matched with wonderful artwork and sensational storytelling to pick this gem up. P.S. If you did enjoy this book, I would pick Darryl Cunnimgham's Psychiatric Tales. Different subject matter, same presentation.
Cat1989 More than 1 year ago
Actually, after hearing a little bit about the book from NPR's program, "On the Media", I checked it out from my local library. It was so good, I decided to order it from Barnes & Noble. I loved the comic book format because it illustrated the narrative so well...(a picture is worth a thousand words). It was a very entertaining way to learn about the history of how the media has changed throughout the centuries and how it has influenced our views politically, psychologically, commercially, and intellectually.
UncleDennis More than 1 year ago
So, I bought this book on a whim at my local Barnes & Noble, knowing full well that an author who works for NPR could lean a little (or a lot) to the left. But, after a quick scan of the book in the store, it seemed to be a light (i.e., <200 pages) read with interesting illustrations. Well, I was duped. Ms. Gladstone does her best to make some kind of case that the media in our country is the result of what we expect, or something like this. To say that the book has no liberal bias, let alone doesn't recognize bias in the media, would be the biggest understatement(s) you could make about it. "Uncle Walt" (Cronkite) is held up as the pinnacle of straight-forward news, with no further in-depth investigation of either his "losing Vietnam" reporting or his modern day musings that have shown his true left-leanings. Swift Boaters? Republican-machine funded liars. Couldn't possibly be truthtellers. 2000 Election - fair reporting here! No chance that media outlets (your usual culprits of the NY Times, LA Times, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, et al.) could be taking sides in the outcome. NY Times - certainly not liberal. After all, it's a "big corporation," and we all know big corporations are just money-hungry right-leaning organizations. Bias... huh? And beyond all of this, Ms. Gladstone cares not to mention the influence of the big players in alternative media-- Pajamas Media (born of Rathergate, which is completely avoided in the book), which is completely ignored. Agenda Journalism would seem to be a better explanation for how Ms. Gladstone views the appropriate role of the media. The word "objectivity" is used in the latter pages, but I fully can't remember how it even appeared considering the views purported by the author. In summary, I have to say I learned NOTHING from this book. The illustrations are really a nice thing, and they help to get the points of the book across (so hipsters and the easily influence by pretty pictures would enjoy the book more), but as a guide to the media, I can't say it's worth reading. Heck, I may have dozed off a few times (I do tend to read late at night, but I give at least 50% of the blame to the book this time), so don't use my review alone to decide whether to purchase the book. I'd like to recommend a different book, but having not read Tim Groseclose's "Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind" I don't want to comment yet (note to the B&N staff at the Glendale Americana: hold a book for me - I'll stop by this weekend for Left Turn).