Into The Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press
by Kristina Borjesson (Editor)
“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.”
The book recounts first-person stories from journalists in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Leading journalists from Fox News, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, newspapers, and other outlets—including Dan Rather, Ashleigh Banfield, Robert McChesney, Greg Palast, Pulitzer Prize and Emmy winners, and more—recount the press censorship they experienced in the wake of 9/11 security concerns. With a foreword by Gore Vidal and edited by former CBS and CNN producer Kristina Borjesson, this highly acclaimed anthology has been described as “fascinating and disturbing,” “uplifting” and “infuriating,” and a “penetrating collection of powerful essays.” The original edition 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.
- Paperback: 462 pages
- Publisher: Prometheus Books; Revised, Expanded edition (October 1, 2004)
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 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Every american citizen should read this book…
This an extremely frightening book.
What’s so frightening in it? Not the fact that it claims to reveal some disturbing truths.
Actually, many books are claiming to do just that.
No, what scared me most is the fact that not only most of the contributors are respected journalists, but all the contributions are extremely well documented and precisely, seriously presented to the reader.
It has nothing to do with any “conspiracy theory” book. All the information inside is very valuable in itself, but it also serves as a clinical description of the sorry state of the american media. Since all the accounts are written in the first person, you share all the difficulties of these reporters who committed that completely unusual sin: they actually did their job properly.
As a swiss citizen who fancy the american culture and media a lot, I wonder how the citizen of that beautiful democracy can stand such scandalous behaviour from the mass media.
The story of the involvement of the CIA in the emergence of the crack epidemic in L.A. was particularly shocking. But most of the stories are equally amazing. DO read this book. And trust me: I don’t like reading the work of lunatics either, but this is serious journalism.
While making it abundantly clear that the craft of journalism as protected in the First Amendment serves as the foundation of democracy, the celebrated, award winning journalists who have contributed essays to this painful, frightening book–and the great Gore Vidal, who wrote the introduction-also make it clear that the 21st century American Empire, built on the corpse of the American Republic, may be the most highly evolved military dictatorship in the history of mankind. So highly evolved in fact, that it can successfully masquerade as a democracy for a significant portion of its citizenry–assuming that said citizenry never asks too many provocative questions, or proclaim openly the apocalyptic nature of the answers.Some journalists in INTO THE BUZZSAW chronicle the slow demise of investigative journalism in America from the early 20th century to today, and what that has meant for our culture. (To give you an idea of its effect, there is hard proof that George Bush Jr. actually lost the 2000 presidential election against Gore due to voter fraud in Florida [under the governorship of his brother Jeb Bush] by more than 50,000 votes, without counting the “hanging chads.” Though the British reported it, the American corporate right-leaning media had no intention of touching the story.) Others reveal hidden evidence of American Foreign Policy tactics through the history of the Cold War that not only make a mockery of the Geneva convention but could easily be compared to the atrocities of Nazism’s Gestapo in the 1930’s and 40’s.The majority of journalists, however, reveal the personal stories they sought for and fought for–and the stories their lives became because of it–to prove the fundamental thesis of journalist Kristina Borjesson, the coiner of the phrase that is the book’s title. You cannot help but read this book and ask yourself, how long will it be before people for some strange reason stop printing new editions of Orwell’s 1984?American journalism today is hopelessly corrupt. Most of what is passing for news today, if it isn’t focused on Michael Jackson’s plastic surgeries, is propaganda. The average person will lose quite a bit of sleep reading this book, but it is about the most important book any American could read today.
I would combine INTO THE BUZZSAW with WAR ON FREEDOM by Mosaddeq Ahmed, and Conason and Lyons’ THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT, regardless of your politics. This is a trinity of books that will make you know exactly what the scriptwriters of the movie franchise THE MATRIX was trying to tell us. And, painful and frightening though it may be, it will be the first step any American could make toward true spiritual freedom and living an authentic life.