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Coloring the News

How Crusading for Diversity Has Corrupted American Journalism


William McGowan (View Bio)
Hardcover: Encounter Books, 2001; Paperback: Encounter Books, 2003.

Coloring the News

A complex look at journalism's most fiercely debated issue, COLORING THE NEWS is a brave, searching work that fuses perceptive historical interpretation with steel-trap reporting to depict a well-intentioned crusade that has run off its rails. McGowan raises questions that the journalistic establishment is reluctant to engage but which any thinking person — liberal or conservative — should take seriously. It is a book that will be controversial among the media elite and satisfying to news consumers perplexed by the press's consistent miscoverage of the most important stories of the 1990s.

Winner of the 2002 National Press Club's Rowse Award for Excellence in Press Criticism

"Scathing.... [McGowan's] abundant examples, drawn from many different directions, will persuade most readers — possibly even some dug-in correctniks — that something has gone seriously wrong in our country's newsrooms.... A devastating critique." — The Wall Street Journal

"Media bias is no longer news.... It becomes a problem when media bias becomes media fraud. Media bias in editorials and columns is one thing. Media fraud in reporting 'facts' in news stories is something else.... Three excellent and devastating new books on media fraud have been published this year, naming names and turning over rocks to show what is crawling underneath. These books are COLORING THE NEWS by William McGowan, BIAS by Bernard Goldberg, and IT AIN'T NECESSARILY SO by David Murray, Joel Schwartz and S. Robert Lichter.... William McGowan's COLORING THE NEWS offers the best explanation for such journalistic malpractice.... While William McGowan's book seems the most perceptive of these three, all are very valuable and each has its own special emphasis. — Thomas Sowell, Creators Syndicate" — Creators Syndicate

"McGowan's COLORING THE NEWS paints in grim detail how the diversity juggernaut conquered the nation's newsrooms, relentlessly documenting how quota hiring, identity politics, and self-censorship has slanted reporting on race issues, gay and feminist topics, affirmative action, and immigration.... It's a sad story of the decline of journalism." — The Weekly Standard

"In his impressive new book, COLORING THE NEWS, journalist William McGowan has an unusual take on the continuing battle over bias in the news media: He thinks liberals are as damaged as everyone else." — John Leo, U.S. News & World Report

"In a book likely to spark controversy, and with the relentlessness of a prosecutor, McGowan...presents case after case in which, he contends, reporters and editors got stories wrong or ignored topics worthy of coverage because of their liberal idealogies and their fear of offending.... Skeptics of multiculturalism will love this book, and lefties will love to hate it." — Publishers Weekly

"If I were still teaching journalism, as I used to...of the assigned books, one would be mandatory: COLORING THE NEWS.... More deeply researched than Bernard Goldberg's BIAS, [it] speaks to what he describes as 'in invisible liberal consensus' — not an 'active liberal conspiracy'.... If I didn't have so many other stories I wanted to write about, I'd devote a series of columns to McGowan's very specific and documented illustrations of groupthink in many newsrooms." — Nat Hentoff, The Village Voice

"COLORING THE NEWS is fascinating... Pick it up." — Bill O'Reilly

"An important [book] that's certain to raise a lot of hackles. McGowan's case — and it's often a powerful case — rests on an extensive list of horribles from the past decade.... It's a long list.... McGowan has focused attention on imporant and troubling issues." — Columbia Journalism Review

"This new book COLORING THE NEWS will break your heart. I've worked in journalism all my life, and I had no idea any of this was going on.... But William McGowan has written a carefully researched analysis of news coverage in the 90s, showing that...it's TRUE..... This book is nothing like the two other media-bias books that are getting as much or more attention this year. In fact, the worst thing that could happen to this book is to get lumped in with its pale look-alike versions.... McGowan's book is the real deal.... He has scrupulously and meticulously gone through the reporting on several dozen 'hot topic' news stories over the past ten years, supplemented that with interviews with reporters and editors involved in the coverage, and written an expose that's as shocking in its way as THE GREEN FELT JUNGLE, the stunning 1964 book that first revealed in detail how most of the state of Nevada was controlled by the mob." — UPI

"This magnificent collection of awkward facts, troubling arguments, and unfashionable opinion reveals a cloud of dubious orthodoxy behind the ostensibly just pursuit of diversity in the news and in the newsroom. In a study that almost serves as a primer on controversial social issues, McGowan looks at what major news organizations chose to emphasize and leave out in national news stories on affirmative action, immigration, race, AIDS and promiscuity, integration in the military and partial birth abortion. Animated not by ideology but by a desire to arrive at a 'frank and fair rendering of the facts,' McGowan demonstrates that, in a quest to do good, much diversity-minded journalism has prevented the airing of critical moral and philosophical conflicts. These points of dispute are essential, he argues, not only for justice to be seen to be done, but for social policy to be formulated under the kind of democratic criticism vital to its ultimate success. The irony here is that McGowan's charges do not disclose an incorrigibly liberal press, as conservatives would charge, but rather an illiberal press, which works to restrict the free market of ideas." — Washington Post

"It seemed like a good idea originally, but media critic McGowan says the campaign to ensure minority access and participation in the institutions of a democratic society, hasn't worked out well for American journalism. McGowan presents specific cases from leading newspapers and TV network news coverage to argue that major media stories on race issues, gay and feminist issues, and immigration, as well as stories interpreting statistics, are written to reinforce the so-called politically correct ideology of writers, editors and presenters. Not only is bias written into such reportage, it is characteristic that when conflicting facts come to light, falsifying or complicating the original stories, the contradicted newspaper 'buries' the new information on an inside page, reports it curiously, or ignores it. The worst damage done by this bias, McGowan maintains, is to the media themselves, as news readers and viewers, failing to recognize the world the media present as true, stop reading and watching and turn to such alternatives as conservative talk radio — 'arguably the Frankenstein monster created by the PC press,' McGowan says. Particular media McGowan critiques include ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS/NPR, and among newspapers, especially the Los Angeles Times (scarily negligent on illegal immigration problems), the Washington Post, and, above all, the New York Times . This cogent, nonrhetorical, nonpartisan book should be required reading for anyone concerned about media bias. — *Booklist" — Booklist (starred review)

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