Publisher: PublicAffairs, 2013
Author: David Folkenfilk
Note to readers: this review, for not being “liberal” enough, was only found helpful 2 of 19 times. Of the other two reviews on Amazon, one was 5 stars and got 4 out of 4 helpful votes, and the other was two stars and got 4 out of 27 helpful votes. I still maintain that this is the worst book I have read this year, and surely you can tell I’ve read quite a lot. I am not sure exactly how this review would not be helpful, except that people prefer to waste their money and their time on poor products. So be it.
I’m generally a positive reviewer and as I love books I almost always find something to recommend in each one. This one, however, is different. Loaded with innuendo, poorly organized, badly written–it cannot even be considered as muckraking. Before he claims that I am some Murdoch employee writing under an alias, I am in fact a real person who has no affiliation with any media, governmental, or recognized business organization of any kind. I am a tutor and teach private classes on the Great Books for high school and college students and adults. I also have written several books about the classics myself, and I’m still a young 25.
Some of the problems with this book are as follows:
While the author has limited personal experience dealing with FOX, he presents story after story about how News Corp is damaging the world and presenting biased news. Many of these may be true to some degree. But he completely lacks awareness of how other news outlets present even MORE biased news. So, for instance, he belittles FOX for its treatment of Obama during the 2008 campaign, and assumes that their belief that other outlets favored Obama without due scrutiny is ungrounded. Yet this candidate at one point stated that he was in his 57th state, and the other outlets did not report this at all. (No joke, go to Youtube and type in “Obama 57 States”–and there you are!) Had Rick Perry said this in the last campaign he would have been derided as an idiot without qualifications.
The author also assumes the credibility of “climate change” and chastises FOX and other Murdoch media sources for questioning its existence. Yet in the chapter on the subject he refers to it as both “climate change” and “global warming”–which is exactly the problem. When the data on “global warming” proved inconclusive, they changed the name to “climate change”–which is intellectually dishonest, to say the least. And he quotes a writer who calls those opposed to reduction of carbon emissions as “anti-greenhouse crazies,” which in itself tells the tale.
The biggest issue for me, however, is none of the preceding. It’s the author’s writing habits. One rule that good writers always follow is that every sentence follows directly from the one preceding it, there is no logical gap between them. Repeatedly this writer goes from one sentence to the next without the second one being related to the first one. Or he’ll bring in new data in the second sentence to refer to something that should have been mentioned in the first one. It makes the book a total and complete joke.
Nor is his organization adequate. He could easily have written a chronological critique of Murdoch’s sins and the building of the News Corp empire around those sins. Instead he chooses random issues and incoherently jumps from one to the next. It is bizarre and, to be frank, incompetent.
Alas, what would you expect from an author named “Folkenfilk”????