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July 29, 2021

Review of Breaking The News, Exposing The Establishment Media's Hidden Deals and Secret Corruption, by Alex Marlow

Review of Breaking The News, Exposing The Establishment Media's Hidden Deals and Secret Corruption, by Alex Marlow

In case you're not familiar with Alex Marlow, he is the longtime editor-in-chief of Breitbart news, so if you've come looking for conservative red meat served up with a side salad of conservative red meat, you are in luck.

This is not necessarily a knock on the book, and is very much in keeping with the Breitbart ethos established in 2007 by the departed Andrew Breitbart which was intended as a counterpoint to the overwhelming liberal bent of mainstream news.

This means that Breaking the News is not going to be a balanced look at bias in media, but rather a book focused on bias in liberal, or mainstream, media and the corruption of said media by corporate and partisan interests.

But that was the point of Breitbart News. Andrew Breitbart made no bones about being balanced, he saw the media landscape as a battleground and he was prepared for war.

As such, Breaking The News is a well documented and in many ways devestating indictment of the liberal press. He reveals their claims to neutrality to be the preposterous fiction everyone knows them to be and exposes the extent to which said media uses its influence to snuff out competing voices like Breitbart. 

In fact, this is a very Breitbart-focused book. That should not be too surprising given the author, and given his familiarity with the unfounded and persistent attacks on Breitbart by his corporate competitors. Because of that, it is a worthy insider's look at events. However, one could be excused for thinking that maybe he could have pulled back a bit on the Breitbart angle.

Speaking of which, the first chapter is titled, "The Rise of Breitbart and the Fake News Hall of Shame." It is a jarring rundown of fake news piece after fake news piece including a brief listing of fake hate-crime nooses reported credulously by the mainstream media. To think that could be a category in itself is disheartening in that it not only divides people based on lies, but diminishes the credibility of genuine hate crimes. (For the record, I don't like the term "hate crime." It's either a crime, or it isn't, I don't care about motivations.)

In Chapter 2, "Meet The Press," Marlow's recitation of conflicts of interest is impressive, if that's the right word.

There's Chuck Todd whose wife is a major Democratic consultant and whose firm has received millions of dollars in fees from Bernie Sanders.  Todd and his wife also rented out a house to Senator and previous presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar and her husband for $32oo a month. Apparently Todd did not think that was an important item to disclose, even as Todd moderated presidential debates.

Come on, he's Chuck Todd, he's above reproach, I'm sure he likes to think.

There is also New York Times media reporter, Ben Smith , who retained his stock in Buzzfeed, a media company he covers, despite having promised to sell it after he joined the Times in early 2020. Does he still own it? Would be a sweet for him if he did given the company is about to go public.

There is a lot of that in this book.

Subsequent chapters focus on the corruption, bias, and self-dealing on the part of NBC News, Bloomberg News, and others. (The chapter on Bloomberg is jaw dropping in how compromised they are by their reliance on China.)

Breitbart also details how the mainstream media buries (or ignores) details of a story inconvenient to their ideological view of the world, and elevates those more agreeable. (I would argue Breitbart does the same particularly in their choices of what to cover, however the important difference is that only NBC and the rest pretend they don't.)

It's really not anything that would not be passably familiar to anybody paying attention, but having it all gathered together, detailed and documented, does have an impact.

I believe the book serves two purposes. First, for true believers it provides an ample supply of ammo and a big helping of motivation. The section on the Covington School student who was confronted by a native American in DC is surely familiar to most people, but there were details presented in the book, ones I hadn't known, that are infuriating. 

Second, for fence sitters, this might be a wake-up call. 

As I mentioned at the beginning, this is not intended as a critique of all news media, and except for a glancing blow dealt to Fox News, the focus is squarely on the liberal, mainstream media, however those who have a feeling that all is not as it seems could find Marlow's arguments compelling. I don't believe he prints anything that is not supportable by the record or otherwise documented.

As he frequently notes, he's a conservative, he has a conservative bias and his writing reflects a conservative worldview.  The difference between him and, say, the Chuck Todds of the world, is that he's upfront about it and does not attempt to cloak himself in the armor of impartiality.

That, together with the continued dominance of mainstream, liberal-leaning media in our culture as supported (and enforced) by the big tech titans who control social media, make the case for a book focused on such compelling.

A quick note on the Audible version which is how I purchased it. Marlow himself narrates it, which is always a plus so long as the writer is also good at speaking, and Marlow is. There are some occasional and somewhat jarring changes in the recording quality and tone between some chapters, but that is not all that unusual, it's just one of my pet peeves. Feel free to ignore it.

While its run time is 10 hours and 34 minutes, it goes by quickly, and I was able to polish it off over the course of a three-day drive in which I was on the road for about twelve hours.  I usually take more breaks from a book, but it is written (and read) in a lively and entertaining style.

I prefer not to rank books but rather like to take a binary approach: It's either worth your time or it isn't. For me, it was. It is a useful reference, it is a call to arms of sorts (the extent of the corruption and bias is frankly scary), and it is accessible to those with open minds. It definitely has a viewpoint, but one that is clearly disclosed up front.

It is available here or through the link below. Please note that I do receive some small change (seriously, we're talking a quarter, maybe a couple of dimes) for each book sold through the link, so I appreciate your using that IF you are interested in the book.

J.

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July 29, 2021 at 03:58 PM in Books | Permalink

Comments

100% agree.

Posted by: Planet Moron | Jul 30, 2021 8:57:06 PM

The term "hate crime" really sets my teeth on edge -- not just because it compels judges and juries to do what they are not equipped to do (i.e., read minds), but because it makes some lives worth more than others. If someone shot and killed my son because they wanted to steal his wallet, it would be homicide. But if my son were black or brown or gay or transgender, then killing him would magically become a hate crime, and the perp would receive a much harsher sentence. So much for equality under the law.

Posted by: bluebird of bitterness | Jul 30, 2021 10:52:53 AM

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