November 22, 2005

Book Review: Exception to the Rulers

I just finished reading The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media that Love Them, and while it does not deal with atheism, I think it is worth reviewing. Let's start with a brief description from Publishers Weekly:
Journalist and radio host Goodman brings her hard-hitting, no-holds-barred brand of reporting to an array of human rights, government accountability and media responsibility issues, and the result is bracing and timely.
Goodman takes on politicians (both Republican and Democrat), points out the cost of their ties to multinational corporations, and makes a strong case for why America desperately needs an alternative media. Fellow bloggers, we are part of this alternative media. I believe that the primary contribution of this book is the evidence Goodman provides to suggest that the American corporate-political apparatus uses the mainstream media as a propaganda machine to control the American people. You've heard about the military engaging in psychological warfare to "win the hearts and minds" of people in other countries, but you might not have realized that the same tactics are employed here. In her call for a strong independent media that is not controlled by corporate interests, I found Goodman to be a source of inspiration.

No book is perfect, but I have only two complaints about Exception to the Rulers. First, Goodman's description of her antics sounds an awful lot like Michael Moore and is often similarly inappropriate. For example, she recounts attending an awards ceremony where the main speaker was scheduled to give interviews to the media immediately after the ceremony. Unable to wait, Goodman interrupted the ceremony to question the speaker. She didn't seem to understand (or care) that most readers were not going to be sympathetic to this. If the speaker already agreed to answer questions at a scheduled time, making an unnecessary scene does not help your case. My second criticism is that Goodman takes every opportunity to pat herself on the back by promoting her show, Democracy Now! While I agree that the show is worth promoting as an example of independent media, the promotion was excessive.

Criticism aside, I recommend the book. It is both entertaining and informative. As a call for a strong independent media, it is likely to inspire those of you who provide this function.

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