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When Media Goes to War: Hegemonic Discourse, Public Opinion, and the Limits of Dissent


Paperback, 144 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-58367-199-3
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.

New Political Science

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.

—Robert W. McChesney, Gutgsell Endowed Professor, Department of Communication, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Co-author, The Death and Life of American Journalism and author, The Political Economy of Media

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.

—Jamal R. Nassar, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

California State University, San Bernardino

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.

—Yahya R. Kamalipour, Center for Global Studies

Purdue University, Calumet

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.

—Lee Artz, Media Studies Professor, and Associate Director

Center for Global Studies, Purdue University, Calumet

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.

—Paul Street, author of Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics

Anthony DiMaggio has taught U.S. and Global Politics at Illinois State University and North Central College, and is an expert in the study of mass media and public opinion. He is editor of the online journal Media-ocracy and publishes regularly in Z Magazine and CounterPunch. He is the author of Mass Media, Mass Propaganda: Examining American News in the “War on Terror.”

SKU: mrp1993 Categories: , ,

Publication Date: February 2010

Number of Pages: 288

Paperback ISBN: 9781583671993

eBook ISBN: 9781583675007