Ryan Holiday dubs this book as “Confessions of a media manipulator”. It’s a book about how the media is so volatile to manipulation, starting at the small time blog and progressing it’s way up by “trading up the chain” as far as the broadsheets and mainstream media outlets like CNN.
I enjoyed that Ryan’s book was not necessarily only applicable to the United States. The same happens here, the Daily Mail is our prime example of the sort of nonsense that people read. I love the quote by Ian Hislop that we “Don’t have a pretty press, but it’s free” and the important thing to take from that is that the free press is a force for good. I had a discussion with a friend the other day down the pub and we came to the conclusion that much like newspapers, the internet should not be blamed for it’s content. It’s not the medium it’s the content that is the issue.
The fact of the matter is, as revealed in Ryan’s book is that a life can be ruined by a rumour online. I still find it distressingly sad that the gentleman from “Get Your Own Back” the children’s TV Show, had his career ruined by a rumour online that he had died. This is where the problems come in.
The book confirmed many suspicions of mine and fuels my anger at the stupidity of people. Why is it so many people accept the media for what it is. So many people will read a headline and make dangerous assumptions from it. I mean dangerous. The power of the media is absolutely insane. Murdoch is the example we all know and love, at least the people who understand the manipulation that is. It’s scary. One man can spread his political ideology like no other. Not only that, but even if you don’t think he’s provoking you he is just by sparking the conversation. Just like the Mail writes to provoke the left and spark controversy, The Guardian often writes to provoke the right. It’s so obvious when you know what to look for. Then we have cases like the Guardian revealing the NSA scandal and having the balls to do it and for a split second, you gain a little respect for them but for the majority of it, the media is pushing out absolute tripe day in day out and we are all slaves to it’s system.
I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone. If only to open your eyes if you are unaware of how manipulated and manipulative the media is. Ryan offers a fascinating insight into modern media and I struggled to put this book in as it reaffirmed some of my greatest suspicions.