The Influencing Machine

The Influencing Machine

Brooke Gladstone on the Media

Book - 2011
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Nearly one million weekly listeners trust NPR's Brooke Gladstone to guide them through the distortions and complexities of the modern media. This brilliant radio personality now bursts onto the page as an illustrated character in vivid comics drawn by acclaimed artist Josh Neufeld. The cartoon of Brooke conducts the reader through two millennia of history-from the newspapers in Caesar's Rome to the penny press of the American Revolution and the manipulations of contemporary journalism. Gladstone's manifesto debunks the notion that "The Media" is an external force, outside of our control, since we've begun directly constructing, filtering, and responding to what we watch and read. With fascinating digressions, sobering anecdotes, and brave analytical wit, The Influencing Machine equips us to be smart, savvy, informed consumers and shapers of the media. It shows that we have met the media and it is us. So now what?
Publisher: New York : W. W. Norton & Company, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780393077797
Branch Call Number: Arts 741.5 Gla
Alternative Title: Brooke Gladstone on the media


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Aug 06, 2018

While this book is full of insights on how information has been filtered, distorted, etc over the last two thousand years, I found that the material did not lend itself to being presented in a graphic novel. The traditional book format would have allowed for a more effective, in-depth presentation of this timely historical information.

Apr 29, 2017

This is a super insightful and entertaining guide to the media --a must-read for all media consumers.

Feb 01, 2017

Graphic novel that covers a wide range of topics about media and the press (print, radio, TV, internet, etc.). Very engaging read. Shows influence from Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. Recommended.

Sep 14, 2016

I am going to go against the grain, against the commenter crowd, against the general consensus - - I feel there is much error in this graphic novel, just as I feel there is much in error about Gladstone. She identifies herself as a reporter - - WRONG! I've never learned anything from her, but have spent much time in email correspondence correcting her and attacking her!
I can't think of anything I have actually learned from any so-called reporter or so-called journalist over the past 40 years or more - - although I have learned an almost infinite amount from actual academics, and now fully grasp why the Koch brothers have been buying up faculties across the nation - - destroying and attempting to destroy the foundations of academia is the final endgame in propaganda consolidation! Altering tenured positions to adjunct professors has been an unholy assault on American higher education and thought!
On the Media is a joke, as is Gladstone! [As one of the many descendants of the Tammany Hall reporter of NYC in the late 1800s, who coined the epithet, // shyster \\, I feel especially suited to comment on this!]

Jun 23, 2015

Gladstone is an NPR correspondent who takes the reader on a tour of the big bad media - its history, its bias, and what we can expect in the best and worst of situations. She's optimistic about the future in the age of social media, but she has a very keen eye for where the media fails the public and our responsibility for being informed consumers.

If you're used to the comics format and you approach this as a comic, you may be frustrated by the amount of text on every page. If you approach this as a short non-fiction book with tons of illustrations to help readers process the information, you'll do better. I think it's very well done, just open your mind. (I wish I could find books like this on a lot of topics I'm interested in!)

Dec 14, 2014

Educational comic books [excuse me, graphic novels], a synergistic format that i hope catches on!

This is a fun book, but really aimed at americans: the first 75% of the book is devoted solely to them. But the final 40 pages is the most painless summary of the psychology of media that you'll ever find. Not new research but if you want get up to speed, this is actually enjoyable. There's one particularly devastating study on human irrationality [Weapons of Mass Destruction, page 123] you have got to read!

multcolib_central Jul 24, 2014

Who knew that the history of mass media could be so fascinating?

Nov 21, 2012

Gladstone’s presentation is clear and balanced. Neufeld’s illustrations are a perfect match for the tone and help clarify the concepts. This book goes beyond the idea of media as newspapers, radio and TV to examine concepts like information overload and the way technology is changing how we interact with the news.

Aug 28, 2012

Tough to follow sometimes, as Gladstone concedes in saying that a visual book about ideas is difficult. That said, there is enough here for anybody to chew on. Plenty of surprising findings about how unreliable polls are, how opinions are shaped, and the policy behind media. Check it out!

Aug 11, 2011

An excellent and engaging read for anyone who is interested in the history of journalism, but can't stand the thought of picking up a textbook. Thought provoking and dryly amusing.


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