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Publisher's Summary

Facts are and must be the coin of the realm in a democracy. Unfortunately, for citizens in the United States and throughout the world, distinguishing between fact and fiction - always a formidable challenge - is now more difficult than ever, as a constant stream of questionable information pours into media outlets.
In 935 Lies, Charles Lewis reminds us of the history of public dishonesty in the United States, from President Lyndon B. Johnson’s cover-up of the real motives behind the Vietnam War, to George W. Bush's public rationales for military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how courageous investigative journalists stood up to power to bring truth to light. He then explores the implications for today: What are the root causes and consequences of this kind of mass deception?
Lewis argues forcefully that while data points and factoids abound, it is much harder to get to the whole truth of complex issues in time for that truth to guide citizens, voters, and decision makers.
©2014 Charles Lewis. Recorded by arrangement with PublicAffairs TM, a member of the Perseus Book Group. (P)2014 HighBridge Company
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Chris Reich on 07-09-14

This Is the Book We All Should Read

This book lays bare the mythology we have bought for years about our glorious nation under god. Turns out there's a reason we believe we're special---part of the trappings of power. I agree.

Every American should read this book and learn. Learn that neither party has the honesty market cornered. Nope, you can't even say that one party is a little better than the other party. The lies both parties have told us have cost thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars in treasure. From Johnson to Obama, we haven't had a truly honest man in the White House.

We're not talking about little lies either. Big stuff.

Please give this book a listen. Then buy a few copies of the print version and give them as gifts---or curses. It's pretty rough to face the myths we believe in.

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10 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By R.S. on 07-20-14

Investigative Journalism & Democracy

This book is about the vital relationship between investigative journalism and a meaningful democracy. Besides giving an incisive overview of contemporary journalism, highlighting the social importance of journalism in creating awareness about racism, the dangers of tobacco, the lies that make war possible, and accurate knowledge of the state of society, it is a homage to the stubborn courage and tenacity of investigative journalists. He sketches the many journalists who have sought independence in order to maintain integrity, such as George Seldes, I.F. Stone, Morton Mintz, etc, while highlighting the career of Edward R. Murrow, who as a mainstream journalist of WWII in the 40s achieved the pinnacle of respect from governments and CBS, but who lost support when in the McCarthyist 50's, political conformity and commercial considerations outweighed the need for the public to be informed. Lewis's own experience working on 60 minutes, when he felt corporate loyalties would conflict with the freedom to investigate news stories. This inspired him to leave corporate journalism and strike out on his own, and found the Center for Public Integrity.

Though the Center's history provides a practical example of how investigative journalism could be supported by an institutional framework without sacrificing integrity, this audio book becomes a rather dry listing of accomplishments,drawbacks, and associations. It provides important reference material and leads, the type one would like to read, but not necessarily what one would like to listen to, nor are the acknowledgements. Therefore most of the appeal of 935 Lies as an audiobook is in the first seven chapters, and in its concluding chapters on the possibilities of investigative journalism.

Lewis's reflections on the historic potential and limitations of TV journalism, and the emerging possibilities of news gathering in the fast changing information age isn't academic, he has practical solutions. Lewis suggests that a new multi-disciplinary academic discipline be created: accountability studies. The lack of accountability of public institutions is an ever increasing threat to the public good, and Lewis provides the germ of a remedy. Much of this tacitly assumes that investigative reporting will not have large audiences in the future, but niche audiences. Yet this is a limited remedy in a mass democracy where authority to formulate policies goes exclusively to the winners of elections,and the corporate interests they usually represent.

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6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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