We haven't had a ZNet Update for awhile. There have been many additions
on the site (www.zmag.org/weluser.htm) of course -- in fact, way too
many, since last update, to list here. Please -- just visit!
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As you may know from the past, when a ZNet writer does a new book, we
send out a brief interview with the writer about their book and their
hopes for it. We have two today.
The first is with Danny Schecter who writes not only for ZNet but also
daily for Mediachannel.org. His latest book; Embedded: Weapons of Mass
Deception is out this week from Prometheus Books.
The second is from Howard Zinn, a ZNet commentator and regular writer
for the Progressive Magazine. Zinn's new book is entitled Artists in
Time of War and is available from Seven Stories Press.
Interview with Danny Schechter about...
"EMBEDDED: WEAPONS OF MASS DECEPTION: How the Media Failed to Cover the
War on Iraq.
(1) Can you tell ZNet, please, what your new book is about? What is it
trying to communicate?
The other day, I asked a media veteran if he had ever seen anything like
what passed for news coverage during the Iraq War. I opined that it
represented the final stage of the collapse of journalism as an
independent force in our society.
My friend, an older man, said that he had seen it before.
"Oh really, I replied. Where?
His response: Germany, l938
That shut me up.
I hope my new book, Embedded Weapons of Mass Deception will wake you up
to the newest techniques being deployed by the mainstream media outlets
for sanitizing coverage and cheerleading for war.
This book offers a day by day account of what we saw and how it
contrasted and conflicted with what others were seeing around the world.
It tells the story of how what was once called "the fourth estate"
became the "fourth front."
Drawing on the considerable resources of Mediachannel.org, the world's
largest online media issues network, as well as my own 30 year
experience as a journalist in print, radio and TV it offers an insider's
view with an outsider's critique. I am proud that it has been endorsed
by Noam Chomsky, Greg Palast, and Peter Arnett who was there.
The book, just out in hard cover from PROMETHEUS Press and online at
Mediachannel.org with support from ColdType.net, offers a readable
window in how the war was sold-and why so many Americans bought it.
(2) Can you tell ZNet something about writing the book? Where does the
content come from? What went into making the book what it is?
I write a weblog for mediachannel.org every morning starting at 6 AM.
This book collects my reportage supplemented by longer reports and
analysis for other publications. In many ways I was "self-embedded" at
My tears and sweat went into writing it and quickly. The first e-book
edition was posted in July. It has now been updated through October.
That other fine book on weapons of mass deception deals mostly with
government PR and propaganda. Mine deals with the media and its
collaboration with the military. It shows how journalism became
For more: write [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Interview With Howard Zinn about...
Artists in Times of War, Seven Stories Press/ Open Media Series
1) Can you tell ZNet, please, what your new book, "Artists in Times of
War" is about? What is it trying to communicate?
I am pointing out the special power of the artist in the world of social
struggle, how the artist brings intensity, passion, a spiritual element
to the world of ideas. Factual argument has a coldness to it. Art in the
service of an important value -- peace, racial equality, social justice
-- lends a power which mere words cannot have. It is, in a sense an
equalizer, given the enormous power of the Establishment. I tried in
this book to give examples of how poetry, music, painting can be
2) Can you tell ZNet something about writing the book? Where does the
content come from? What went into making the book what it is?
The book is a set of essays and lectures. It gets its title from a talk
I gave at the Massachusetts College of Art, in which I talked of art as
transcending reality in order to give a special intensity to truth. It
also has a transcript of talk I gave at Radcliffe College on Emma
Goldman and Anarchism. Emma Goldman, that fiery feminist-anarchist, was
also a love of drama who lectured on Ibsen, Strindberg, and Shaw. She
could give a special power to her statements on marriage by pointing to
Ibsen's The Doll House, its dramatization of the plight of a woman in a
stifling marriage, bringing that situation alive in a way that a mere
prosaic description could not.
Also in the book is a transcript of a talk I gave at the Taos Talking
Pictures Festival, about how the art of making movies was mostly in the
service of orthodoxy, and how dramatic events in the history of our
country, which could make superb films, were ignored because they would
be subversive of established ideas.
The last essay in the book is about the importance of pamphleteering as
a unique artistic weapon in the struggle for social justice. Greg
Ruggiero of Seven Stories Press had the idea of combining these talks
and essays into a book.
3) What are your hopes for "Artists in Times of War"? What do you hope
it will contribute or achieve, politically? Given the effort and
aspirations you have for the book, what will you deem to be a success?
What would leave you happy about the whole undertaking? What would leave
you wondering if it was worth all the time and effort?
I would hope that it would suggest to artists who may hesitate to
connect their art with the critical issues of our time -- war, poverty,
inequality -- that there is a long and noble tradition, going back to
the Greek playwrights of art being used in the service of human rights.
I would hope also that it might inspire political activists to think
about moving out of their constricted, habitual ways of reaching people,
and begin to use their imagination to lend a kind of artistic power to
their political activity.
To read more about Howard Zinn's book "Artists in Times of War" check
out Sarah Burton's excellent interview with Zinn and Thom York of the
band Radiohead in Resonance Magazine
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