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14 November 2011

Book Review The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media

The Influencing MachineThe Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A graphic novel that gives you a history of the media in visual bits that bite deep.

The main point;  "We hunger for objectivity, but increasingly swallow "news" like Jell-O shots in ad hoc cyber-saloons.  We marinate in punditry season with only those facts and opinions we can digest without cognitive distress.   I see our most hallowed journalistic institutions crumbling, I see our business model that relied on mass audiences being displaced, with stunning speed, by one that survives by aggregating millions of tiny, targeted audience fragments.  The reality that anyone with a cell phone can now presume to make, break, or fabricate the news has shaken our citadels of culture and journalism to the core.
The once mighty gatekeepers watch in horror as libelous, manifestly unprofessional websites flood the media ether with unadulterated id.  Terrifying.  I can't wait to watch it play out."

Something oxymoronic about a book like this pointing out that we, as a people, have lost our ability to read in-depth for long periods of time.  But would I have picked up a 500 page tome on this subject?  Probably not. I blame Google.

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