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Inventing Reality: The Politics of News Media

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  222 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Taking a critical perspective on the economics and politics of "presenting" the news, this topical supplement argues that the media systematically distorts news coverage.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 15th 1992 by Cengage Learning (first published January 1st 1986)
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Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you‘re thinking about reading Chomsky‘s ‚Manufacturing Consent‘, read this instead - it‘s written on the same subject, 2 years earlier, and by someone far more knowledgeable.
Honestly, Parentis writing style ist phenomenal. He argues really concisely, anticipating every counterargument, and exposing the reader to a radical new world view, but he never loses himself in technical jargon. He engages the reader with his wit and humour and I‘ve honestly never read a non-fiction book as quickly as I
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm only half way through this book and already it's one of the most concise and penetrating critiques of the Mass Media in America that I've ever read. As someone who works in the business, Parenti's analysis of distortions, ideology, omissions and power of the Media in our lives is an essential read. Be prepared to cancel your cable...
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent discussion of how the media function as institutions that push the interests of their stakeholders -- their owners, their advertisers, the political and business elites that their employees look up to, and the government, on which they rely for access to much of the information they need to be seen as Serious Outlets. Last in this line comes the public.

Parenti's writing style is a lot livelier than Chomsky's, which makes it a far quicker and more enjoyable read. And note that although
C. Scott
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. No one does a better job using plain language to describe the larger forces at work that alter our perception of reality. Here Parenti turns his focus on the media.

Going far beyond the typical “liberal complaint” mode of media criticism, Parenti drives full force into a radical class analysis. Does it matter that the establishment press, the major media that get all the accolades and respect in our culture, also happen to be capitalist enterprises? You bet your ass. Does it matter tha
Christy Coghlan
Most nonfiction books about a singular topic lose momentum as they go on; this book got stronger & more impactful as we got closer to the end. ...more
P.J. Sullivan
May 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Exposes media bias, how economic power leads to cultural hegemony and ideological monopoly. Michael Parenti is one of the best antidotes to media misinformation.
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've seen people recommend this in place of Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent, and now I understand why. Parenti's arguments are very easy to follow: Premise, litany of supporting evidence, some contemplation of possible counterarguments, and rebuttal, usually wrapped up in under 5 pages. My only complaint is that Parenti tackles these items so succinctly it can appear jarring. Once you round out the books last pages, however, the sum total of all of the arguments raised is a damning critique of p ...more
Aditya Raman
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Parenti succinctly takes apart the Mainstream Media industry of the United States, deftly exposes the power brokers that run it and the ideologies that they propagate using it. However, this work is in dire need of updation to reflect the ever-changing media landscape of the 21st century and how the introduction of social media has added a whole new dimension to class conflict. It also needs a chapter or two on the media landscape outside of the United States and the international migration of r ...more
Possum Paderau
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Parenti is a fantastic writer. The conclusion of the book was powerful. I just wish there were a 30 year anniversary edition that was updated with developments in the media since then. Things are very similar but have also changed a lot.
Rochelle Blumenstein
It was amazing how relevant this book is now despite its being 30 year old.
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: marx
A case study on how the media narrative is shaped directly and indirectly by capital. Still extremely relevant.
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is way better than manufacturing consent and it's about half the length. If you're looking to learn about how the media invents reality to guide the masses look no further than this work.
Bryant Scott
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: culture
This book was required reading for a class I am taking. The book makes compelling arguments that the media invents reality to support the conservative establishment; not the liberal view as many conservatives argue. I would recommend reading the book, especially if you think the media is liberal. You will find a great deal of evidence to the contrary in this book. The book was published in 1992 and discusses media distortions up to that time. Today, people can find nearly anything they want to h ...more
Yuu Sasih
Nov 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great book about media influence on people's perspective, with all controls it gets from government, media owner, etc. How our mind could easily be manipulate for the sake of few people's benefit. Nice read.
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the best on the subject out there. Parenti at his best - just like all his other work, it challenges all the corporate and state sponsored western mainstream media propaganda we get spoon fed every single day, every single hour.
May 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
Excellent overview of the function of the mass media today - utterly vindicated by Wikileaks revelations and the role of the corporate media during and post-Wikileaks.
Michelle Murray
read in a college class a long time ago! will not forget what i learned.
May 26, 2011 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Monica by: PJ
Shelves: politics
If I had to choose I think I'm more apt to read Parenti's books about history than media. I wish I wasn't such a slow reader. 950 books to read? I better start getting them on tape!
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Quite shocking to me at the time.
Michael Valletta
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the truth. If you want to open your eyes and step out of Plato's proverbial cave READ THIS BOOK!
Brian Carnell
Sep 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
A Stalinist criticizing American media....
Expose Austin Texas Duty To Care For Others
Classic book on cultural hegemony and how the plethora of medias manipulate society on a regular basis.
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American political scientist, historian and culture critic.

Parenti is most known for his criticism of capitalism and American foreign policy.

He holds a doctorate from Yale University.

News & Interviews

Did you set an extremely ambitious Reading Challenge goal back in January? And has this, uh, unprecedented year gotten completely in the way of...
12 likes · 6 comments
“The basic distortions in the media are not innocent errors, for they are not random; rather they move in the same overall direction again and again, favoring management over labor, corporatism over anti-corporatism, the affluent over the poor, private enterprise over socialism, Whites over Blacks, males over females, officialdom over protesters, conventional politics over dissidence, anticommunism and arms-race militarism over disarmament, national chauvinism over internationalism, US dominance of the Third World over revolutionary or populist nationalist change. The press does many things and serves many functions but its major role, its irreducible responsibility, is to continually recreate a view of reality supportive of existing social and economic class power.” 4 likes
“Power is always more secure when cooptive, covert, and manipulative than when nakedly brutish. The support elicited through the control of minds is more durable than the support extracted at the point of a bayonet. The essentially undemocratic nature of the mainstream media, like the other business-dominated institutions of society, must be hidden behind a neutralistic, voluntaristic, pluralistic facade.

"For manipulation to be most effective, evidence of its presence should be nonexistent.... It is essential, therefore, that people who are manipulated believe in the neutrality of their key social institutions," writes Herbert Schiller.”
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