Recommended Reading

Note: FAIR encourages readers to support their local independent booksellers. However, if books mentioned on our site are not available in your area, we offer the ability to purchase some books online in association with the book’s publisher, and Powell’s Books.

Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women
By Susan Faludi (Crown, 1991)
An in-depth, well-documented analysis of the media backlash against feminism.

By Invitation Only: How the Media Limit Public Debate
By David Croteau and William Hoynes (Common Courage, 1994)
Incorporates Croteau and Hoynes’ classic studies of Nightline, the NewsHour and PBS that document the establishment bias of "prestige" television.

Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy
By Robert W. McChesney (Seven Stories, 1997)
A concise explanation of why corporate media domination matters.

Cracked Coverage: Television News, the Anti-Cocaine Crusade and the Reagan Legacy
By Jimmie L. Reeves and Richard Campbell (Duke, 1994)
Explores TV’s role in the shifting myths of the War on Drugs.

Culture, Inc.: The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression
Herbert I. Schiller (Oxford University Press, 1989)
Analyzes the corporate structure of mass communications and how it constrains expression in a wide range of news and entertainment media. See also Schiller’s The Mind Managers, Beacon Press, 1973.

Deciding What’s News
By Herbert Gans (Vintage, 1980)
A sociologist takes apart the functional criteria for what qualifies as "news."

Democracy Without Citizens: Media and the Decay of American Politics
By Robert M. Entman (Oxford University Press, 1989)
A deft academic examination of how institutional patterns deprive us of a "free press."

Don’t Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural Misinformation About African-Americans
By Farai Chideya (Plume, 1995)
A fact-filled refutation of various media myths.

The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the ’90s
Edited by Jim Naureckas and Janine Jackson (Westview, 1996)
A collection of articles from Extra! that document media’s role in shaping the politics of the 1990s.

Fantasies of the Master Race: Literature, Cinema & the Colonization of the American Indians
By Ward Churchill (Common Courage, 1992)
An examination of culture and genocide in the 500 years since Columbus.

Fooling America: How Washington Insiders Twist the Truth and Manufacture the Conventional Wisdom
By Robert Parry (Morrow, 1992).
An inside account by one of the country’s leading investigative reporters of the elite media culture that sabotages news reporting.

Fools for Scandal: How the Media Invented Whitewater
By Gene Lyons (Franklin Square, 1996)
A persuasive critique of the coverage of Clinton’s scandals.

The George Seldes Reader
Edited by Randolph T. Holhut (Barricade Books, 1994)
A compilation of writings from the dean of American media criticism.

The Global Media: The New Missionaries of Global Capitalism
By Edward S. Herman and Robert W. McChesney (Cassell, 1997)
An inclusive examination of the increasing integration of the global media industry.

The Haunted Fifties, In a Time of Torment and Polemics and Prophecies
By I.F. Stone (Little, Brown, 1989)
Three-volume series of edited writings from an eminent independent journalistic and media critic.

Inventing Reality: The Politics of the Mass Media
By Michael Parenti (St. Martin’s, 2nd edition, 1992)
A concise and insightful analysis of U.S. news media bias.

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
By Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky (Pantheon, 1988)
A probing expose of biased reporting on human rights and foreign policy issues.

The Media in Black and White
Edited by Everette E. Dennis and Edward C. Pease (Transaction, 1997)
An anthology with a spectrum of perspectives on issues of race and journalism, entertainment and advertising.

The Media Monopoly
By Ben Bagdikian (Beacon Press, 5th edition, 1997)
The classic study of concentrated corporate ownership and its impact on mass media.

Mediaspeak: How Television Makes Up Your Mind
By Donna Woolfolk Cross (Mentor, 1983).
A telling look at TV’s wide range of manipulative techniques.

Networks of Power: Corporate TV’s Threat to Democracy
By Dennis W. Mazzaco (South End Press, 1994)
A former TV industry worker gives the behind-the-scenes story of the Capital Cities/ABC merger, documenting how giant media corporations use news and culture to further corporate goals.

On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency
By Mark Hertsgaard (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1988) The definitive work on U.S. media performance during the Reagan Era.

Prime Time Activism: Media Strategies for Grassroots Organizing
By Charlotte Ryan (South End Press, 1991)
An extremely useful guide for activists that explains sophisticated media strategies that take into account long-term organizing as well as publicity goals.

Public Television for Sale: Media, the Market and the Public Sphere
By William Hoynes (Westview, 1994)
A clear academic survey of the increasing privatization of public TV in the U.S.

Real Majority, Media Minority: The Cost of Sidelining Women in Reporting
By Laura Flanders (Common Courage, 1997)
A wide-ranging look at the effects of media exclusion of women.

Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War
By John R. MacArthur (Hill & Wang, 1992)
A disturbing record of the government’s wartime restriction and manipulation of major media—and of the media’s largely willing acceptance of those restrictions.

The Sponsor: Notes on a Modern Potentate
By Erik Barnouw (Oxford University Press, 1978)
The classic study of the domination advertisers wield over television by the premier historian of U.S. broadcasting.

Through Jaundiced Eyes: How the Media View Organized Labor
By William J. Puette (ILR/Cornell Press, 1991).
Examines media coverage of labor, cataloging damaging stereotypes, misrepresentation and bias by omission.

Toxic Sludge Is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry
By John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton (Common Courage, 1995)
An expose of corporate P.R.’s opinion-shaping power.

The TV Arab
Jack Shaheen (Bowling Green, 1984)
A probing study of racial stereotyping in news and entertainment.

Unreliable Sources: A Guide to Detecting Bias in News Media
By Martin A. Lee and Norman Solomon (Lyle Stuart, 1990)
A vital handbook for seeing through biased coverage of a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues.

Virgin or Vamp? How the Press Covers Sex Crimes
By Helen Benedict (Oxford University Press, 1992)
Examines how damaging rape myths are perpetuated by the mainstream press and the shifting roles played by race and class bias in coverage.

The Way Things Aren’t: Rush Limbaugh’s Reign of Error
By Steve Rendall, Jim Naureckas and Jeff Cohen (The New Press, 1995)
A meticulous and humorous refutation of the talkshow host’s false and foolish pronouncements.

The White Press and Black America
By Carolyn Martindale (Greenwood, 1986)
A look at mainstream media’s distortions of African-Americans.

Wizards of Media Oz: Behind the Curtain of Mainstre
am News

By Norman Solomon and Jeff Cohen (Common Courage, 1997)
The latest compilation of "Media Beat" columns and other writings. See also "Through the Media Looking Glass" (1995) and Adventures in Medialand (1993).

back to FAIR’S Media Activist Kit | on to Local Activists