Brooklyn College Professor Eric Alterman on “The Bush War against the Media,” December 8

November 28, 2005 | Brooklyn College

Brooklyn, NY — The Wolfe Institute for the Humanities and the Brooklyn College Department of English will present “The Bush War against the Media,” a lecture by Eric Alterman, Professor of Journalism, on Thursday, December 8, at 1:30 p.m. Alterman’s essay “Bush’s War on the Press,” which appeared in the May 9, 2005 issue of The Nation, has been included in the anthology Best Political Writing of 2005, edited by Royce Flippin (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2005).

For over a decade, Alterman has been a busy critic of the U.S. media. His 2003 polemic What Liberal Media?: The Truth About Bias and the News, was written to rebut claims by Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, George Will, Sean Hannity, and others that the mainstream media operates under a liberal bias. In that important work, Alterman showed that the media, far from bending leftward, actually was more beholden to right-wing interests, and liberal and moderate voices are marginalized by an effective, coordinated campaign by conservatives to label all media as “liberal.”

Two years later, Alterman has retooled his thesis to cover the most recent developments in Washington. “The Bush Administration and its ideological allies are employing every means available to undermine journalists’ ability to exercise their First Amendment function to hold power accountable,” he wrote in his “Bush’s War on the Press” essay, accusing them of “preventing journalists from doing their job by withholding routine information; deliberately releasing deceptive information on a regular basis; bribing friendly journalists to report the news in a favorable context; producing their own ‘news reports’ and distributing these free of charge to resource-starved broadcasters; creating and crediting their own political activists as ‘journalists’ working for partisan operations masquerading as news organizations.”

Eric Alterman, who joined the Brooklyn College Department of English in 2004, writes the “Stop the Presses” media column for The Nation and the “Altercation” web log (wwww.altercation.msnbc.com) for MSNBC.com. In recent years, he has been a contributing editor to, or columnist for, Worth, Rolling Stone, Elle, World Policy Journal, and The Sunday Express (London). His book Sound & Fury: The Making of the Punditocracy (HarperCollins, 1992) won the 1992 George Orwell Award, and his It Ain’t No Sin to Be Glad You’re Alive: The Promise of Bruce Springsteen (Little Brown, 1999) won the 1999 Stephen Crane Literary Award. Alterman is also the author of Who Speaks for America? Why Democracy Matters in Foreign Policy (Cornell University Press, 1998), and of What Liberal Media?: The Truth About Bias and the News (Basic Books, 2003). His latest book is When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and Its Consequences (Viking, 2004). For more information, call the Wolfe Institute at (718) 951-5847.