Inventing Reality: The politics of the mass media
By Michael Parenti
It was never clearer than in the age of Reagan that the mass media have a powerful effect on American political attitudes. In this passionate, controversial critique of the media, Michael Parenti examines the subtle but profound ways in which the media influence and manipulate the public’s perception of reality. It attacks the widely held view that the media are controlled by liberals and liberal opinion and clearly depicts the media as a controlling institution of the American capitalist system, an institution that serves the interests of the rich and powerful while appearing to serve the many.
- Hardcover: 258 pages (First Edition)
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (1986)
- Paperback: 274 pages (Second Edition)
- Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing; 2 edition (November 15, 1992)
From Publishers Weekly
Parenti (Power and the Powerless; Democracy for the Few) forcefully presents his contention that the U.S. media are not independent, objective and truthful, but rather “create a view of reality supportive of existing social and economic class power.” He demonstrates how the media shape the public’s perception of reality not by telling us what to think but by determining what we will think about. Hence, not given news coverage, he argues, are the successes achieved by socialistic or left-leaning regimes, problems of American workers in their workplaces or the just claims of dissenters from “acceptable” viewpoints of the ruling elite and the government. Parenti claims that disputations of official positions on Chile and Nicaragua, for example, are not aired, that media creations like Joseph McCarthy are lionized until they begin to cast doubt on ruling circles. A controversial, stinging volume.
From Library Journal
In this latest study of “who controls the media,” political scientist Parenti continues the basic argument set forth in his earlier popular works Democracy for the Few ( LJ 11/15/77) and Power and the Powerless ( LJ 10/15/78)in which he portrayed the existing power structure as under the control of a corporate or political elite. Now he expands upon this theme and dissects the patterns and actions of network and newspaper ownership. A conservative, anti-communist, and anti-labor bias emerges from pages and pages of specific incidents. Parenti levels some serious charges against the media, including several astounding examples of the “Big Lie” (Soviet terrorism, the downing of KAL 007, the Bulgarian “Pope Killers”). This will be a controversial book, but Parenti’s arguments and illustrations are well documented. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.
Michael Parenti on the CIA’s manipulation (and ownership in many cases) of the media. From ‘Inventing Reality’ 2nd edition, pp. 67-68.