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Tony Brasunas
Red White & Blind

Adult; Political & Social Sciences; (Market)

Why were the sordid deeds of Jeffery Epstein concealed for two decades? Why was inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus suppressed? Why are social media sites censoring scientists, doctors, journalists, and scholars? Through dozens of absorbing exposés, Red, White & Blind reveals the corporate media’s deliberate lies, tendentious censorship, and ironic use of the term disinformation. This deceit has driven faith in mainstream news to all-time lows, but it has also birthed an independent media revolution—a New Enlightenment—enabling Americans to see through the walls of “confirmation bias” and perceive the world more accurately than ever before. In these pages you will learn:

1. How the “Father of Propaganda” convinced Americans to love bananas, World War I, and the color green.

2. How the CIA secretly placed agents in the media and why they likely still do.

3. Why the notion of “objective, professional journalism” was invented in the early 1900s.

4. How to understand and connect with anyone across different political views.

5. Why today’s social media censorship violates the First Amendment.

6. Why “fact-checking” websites don’t check facts.

And much, much more.

Brasunas (Double Happiness) delivers an unusually upbeat guide surveying media bias, misinformation, and manipulation. Billed as “a history, an exposé, a guide, and a pep talk,” Red, White & Blind offers no shortage of alarming declarations—"If you can tell the people of a society what to fear and what to covet, whom to admire and whom to loathe, wealth and power will be yours”—and clear-cut examples, contemporary and historic, of bias, censorship, narrative control, and straight-up propaganda from American media on behalf of a host of powerful stakeholders. At the same time, Brasunas contends that the situation could be much worse, declaring we’re in the thick of a “New Enlightenment,” a time of “rapidly broadening access to information.”

Brasunas persuasively backs up the positives and negatives that he sees in our current press, while shedding light on media manipulation of the past. His surveys of the history of “objectivity” in journalism are engaging and provocative, ranging from the dawn of the concept to the ways that media “fact-checkers” “play a powerful ‘meta’ role in reinforcing propaganda and censorship.” (Terms like “propaganda” and “bias” are rigorously defined and distinguished from each other throughout.) Cases of the powerful narrative shaping that much of the U.S. believes in are dished with an eye for striking detail, especially the outlandish early 20th-century manipulations of Edward Bernays, the self-described father of public relations.

There’s abundant outrage chronicled here, namely what news gets reported and what gets suppressed, but Brasunas takes pains to offer tools for readers to understand how media manipulation works and how to avoid the temptation of conspiracy theories. (Brasunas is no conservative, but his critique of “corporate media” extends to its kid-gloves treatment of the current administration.) This polished, highly readable treatment of a contentious subject makes a great entry point and adds a surprising injection of optimism for readers who find the situation gloomy.

Takeaway: This sweeping and persuasive introduction to media manipulation in the U.S. is surprisingly hopeful.

Great for fans of: Daniel J. Levitin’s A Field Guide to Lies, Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer’s Myth America.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: NA
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A