Review: Hate Inc.: Why Today's Media Makes Us Despise One Another

Hate Inc.: Why Today's Media Makes Us Despise One Another Hate Inc.: Why Today's Media Makes Us Despise One Another by Matt Taibbi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Taibbi aims to provide an updated version of Noam Chomsky & Edward Herman's Manufacturing Consent adapted to integrate the last thirty years of mass media practice coupled with Taibbi's own insider views and criticism about how media across all divides is failing the US in profound ways. His argument is not new (media is failing us) but his take that all mainstream popular news outlets (TV, radio, print-based, digitally based) are complicit in this destruction because they're all playing to specific audiences is rather important. Taibbi explores and explains how news entities continue to focus on a portion of the audience they believe they can maintain by offering a particularly biased focus and forgo trying to win over other news consumers. The result is that most people end up paying attention to the news media that fits their political views and rarely goes beyond that bubble. But more damning is that, even if they cross over to other news outlets, collectively, this focus on left/right creates a highly reductive to the point that it prevents people from truly understanding the complexity of any and all problems. If both sides are fixated on saying it's the other side's fault, there's no voice to say, what if "it" isn't even the actual problem or what if it is a menial distraction from real problems. Thus, news cycles get caught up in the latest ridiculous thing a politician said on a hot-mic but no one ever challenges why nearly all of Congress has signed off on the US having active military missions in dozens of countries. Taibbi's argument is profound and will challenge many readers. Even though his politics does lean leftward, he goes after the left-leaning media just as brutally in his critique (though not really his insults). Folks who are deeply entrenched in their political views and news-consuming habits would do well for themselves by reading this book.

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