Released: February 2010
In this fresh and provocative book, Anthony DiMaggio uses the war in Iraq and the United States confrontations with Iran as his touchstones to probe the sometimes fine line between news and propaganda. Using Antonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony and drawing upon the seminal works of Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, and Robert McChesney, DiMaggio combines a rigorous empirical analysis and clear, lucid prose to enlighten readers about issues essential to the struggle for a critical media and a functioning democracy. If, as DiMaggio shows, our newspapers and television news programs play a decisive role in determining what we think, and if, as he demonstrates convincingly, what the media give us is largely propaganda that supports an oppressive and undemocratic status quo, then it is incumbent upon us to make sure that they are responsive to the majority and not just the powerful and privileged few.
…the best critical analysis of the US news media’s coverage of the ‘war on terror’ I am aware of.
Nothing short of a masterpiece. It is the definitive and most up-to-date treatment of the subject, and should be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand the crucial and often destructive role media play on the most important international issues of our times.
A pioneering book. It tells the story of how public debate on issues is restricted to the agenda of political elites. The scholarship is superb and the narrative is direct and convincing. I recommend it to students, scholars, and libraries. It is a must read for any journalist dealing with foreign affairs.
In this meticulously researched, highly informative, and timely volume, DiMaggio skillfully explores how hegemonic media messages are shaped and transmitted in mainstream media’s reporting of international events. Zeroing in on political coverage of the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and the rhetorical war with Iran, DiMaggio methodically illustrates the interconnections between media, government, and commerce.
Forsaking the comfort of the ‘land of assumption’ where media and media scholars accept official versions of crucial political and social issues, DiMaggio introduces the reader to the realm of media realpolitik. In the process, DiMaggio provides an extended defense of the much maligned Propaganda Model with chapter after chapter of ample evidence that corporate media routinely ‘align public opinion to political leadership’ positions. Using multiple contemporary examples, DiMaggio demonstrates that the social position and function of media owners, and their leading ‘spokesmodel’ journalists and editors, comprises and constructs a non-reflective world of ‘active consent to official doctrines.’ This book needs to be required reading for all media studies and media literacy classes from high school through graduate school.
Thoroughly researched and expertly crafted, Anthony DiMaggio’s When Media Goes to War powerfully validates, advances, and expands on the famous Noam Chomsky-Edward S. Herman “propaganda model” of media analysis with particular reference to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. This is state-of-the-art left inquiry exposing the dominant corporate media system’s continuing service to Empire. But DiMaggio also offers hope, showing real limits to the power elite’s ability to manufacture mass consent to imperial agendas through propagandistic media.