Published February 4, 2008
Although there is widespread acknowledgment that the “mainstream media” is in crisis — a crisis underscored as much by declining authority as by circulation and viewership — no one has explained the intellectual and moral causes of this crisis. James Bowman, media critic for The New Criterion, provides a scintillating and fast-paced anatomy of the mainstream media’s self-generated demise.
In Media Madness, Bowman looks behind the headlines to examine mainstream media’s governing myths. Writing with acerbic wit, he shows how the mainstream media’s embrace of a spurious notion of objectivity combined with its addiction to scandal, moral equivalence, and an unshakable conviction of its own moral superiority have done irreparable damage to the media’s public authority and have helped precipitate a worldwide exodus to the “blogosphere” and other sources of news and comment.
“James Bowman compellingly argues that the contemporary reign of ‘media madness’ has been allowed to ‘grow and spread like some pest whose natural predators have been eliminated.’ This is a scathing, provocative, brilliant and useful book.”
— Thomas B. Edsall, Pulitzer-Moore Chair at Columbia University, and author of Chain Reaction and Building Red America
“James Bowman’s characteristically sharp thesis goes way beyond traditional complaints about media bias. At a time when big movies flop, newspaper circulations decline, and network anchors go unwatched, the author argues that, while mass media may be on the way out, their worst pathologies have spread throughout society at large and made serious honorable public discourse all but impossible. From eco-rockers to moral equivalists to journalists’ debauching of their own currency (language) Bowman presents a trenchant and persurasive analysis of a world trying to run its affairs to a media aesthetic…Bowman’s book is an indispensable guide through the madness and, perhaps one day, back to sanity.”
— Mark Steyn, author of America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It
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