"This is a
book told by a journalistic idealist that is full of sound and fury,
signifying something truly important. To understand why journalism too
often falls short, and why this failure is costly, read this searing
- Ken Auletta, writer for The New Yorker and author
is more frightening that a Stephen King novel. It meticulously chronicles
how our nation's television news has morphed into brazen show biz, how
good journalism fell victim to good looks, how serving public interest
gave way to placating corporate greed. In a riveting account by a veteran
television reporter and network executive who watched it all happen
from the inside, Bonnie Anderson exposes, in addition, the shameful
way that network executives routinely give token attention to ethnic,
racial and gender diversity yet quietly keep white males in virtual
control of the key jobs in television news. All the while, our evening
news programs blissfully - and arrogantly -- ignore the information
needs of a rapidly changing America."
- Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News columnist and president of the
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
always said, "When you know better, you ought to do better."
In News Flash, Bonnie Anderson shows us a better way. Thanks, Bonnie."
- Tavis Smiley, Author, PBS & NPR talk show host
clearly and convincingly, in a professional's crisp and clear voice,
the sad slide of television news at the hands of bureaucrats who think
of news only in terms of profit and ratings, who value good looks and
smooth delivery over truth. If television news is to play the vital
role in democracy that it should, journalists, producers and executives
must heed Ms. Anderson's call for a return to the ethics and high principles
of television journalism."
- Terry Anderson, author, former AP correspondent and former US hostage
The True Story
book has brought to the light of day what I have felt has been a problem
with the media for some time. Many of the newscasts are more concerned
with form, not substance; how they look and not what they say. Her book
is a very good read and pulls no punches in pointing out the way many
in the media are more concerned with entertainment than hard news coverage.
Her description of this type of coverage as "Infotainment"
is right on point.
News Flash brings to the reader another big problem influencing news
coverage which is how mega mergers are affecting the coverage that is
being presented to the viewing public. Unfortunately the impact is not
good and these large conglomerates are proving the old adage "bigger
is not always better" to be very true.
From her experience
at CNN as a reporter, managing director of a news division and Vice
President of Recruitment and Training, Anderson offers the reader a
unique perspective as to what goes on inside a large news organization.
She provides an in depth look at what takes place behind closed doors
when it comes to hiring, firing and staffing in todays media corporations
and much of what she reveals should be quite disturbing to the viewing
public. This book provides some very interesting statistics about the
media and its management which I am sure most of us were never aware
While Anderson points
out numerous things that are wrong with todays TV media and its management,
she also brings out the good that the true journalist can and should
do. At the end of the book she offers her thoughts on what the media
can do to provide the viewing public with quality news coverage. She
should be commended for taking a stand and bringing to our attention
the problems and proposing solutions to get TV journalism back to the
quality we need and deserve.
In light of Andersons
criticism of the TV networks and cable news channels, it will be interesting
to see if any of the media will afford her the same opportunity to present
her views as they did when Bernard Goldberg published his book on bias
in the media. If they do not, shame on the media, again.
L. H. Kurz
THE WHISTLE BLOW- INFOTAINMENT FOR PROFIT EXPOSED
reports that CNN is engaging its battery of lawyers to put the kibosh
on Bonnie Andersons NEWS FLASH prompted me to take a read.
Author Anderson even handedly exposes CNNs calculating prejudice for
profit, Foxs funnies and MS-NBCs news negligence. She leaves no maleficent
media stone unturned.
veteran Journalist tears down the infotainment news wall and lifts the
lid on how the networks spoon feed the prurient appetite of the public
for rating and the bottom line.
News Flash shines a laser light on the nefarious networks. Its a tutorial
that teaches us how to read between the non news media lines.
reader (Carlsbad, California)
the suits at CNN dont want you to
This is the definite
cluetrain (doc searls et al)for broadcasTV news. Much the same way cluetrain
sparked a marketing revolution, this does the same for broadcast journalism.
I first meet the author when she was interning for Florida Today in
Every point she makes in this book is vaild. The take on "fox fair
and balanced" tells me she wont be on the OReilly factor anytime
I found only one sort of error. FYI> Matt Lauer does have a broadcast
journalism background on the local level. He came out of the same environment
that former NBC correspondent and current talk show host (WBUR Boston)
Robin Young did, PM Magazine at WJAR TV 10 in Providence Rhode Island.
Thats the only small flaw I could find in the book.
The suits at CNN dont want you to read the book. They are not happy
campers and with good reason. The hollywood suits trashed the network
big time, and with than came the opening for Fox news to fill. Rick
Kaplan is currently doing the same thing for MSNBC that he did for CNN
take it down the pike.
Its a fast read but once you start you wont want to stop.
insider with enough intestinal fortitude to call a sham a sham!!! One
can just imagine the 6 o'clock news being primmed, powdered and perfumed
with just enough tear (or smile) to make it palatibly entertaining.
Ms. Anderson, with her years of experience and credibility, still believes
that the American citizenry is due the news, the whole news, and nothing
but the news. Reserve the spin and "holy cows" for the baseball
commentators! If the media execs remain stoically entrenched in the
annals of the entertainment world, then let them be reminded of the
old radio classic, Dragnet, where the byline was...."the facts,
Ma'am, just the facts".
The Rise of Infotainment
Bonnie Anderson has been a journalist for 27 years, including ten years
each with NBC and CNN. She starts this book with the story of working
with the recently hired head of programming for CNN. He came from NBC
Entertainment. One of his first questions to her was, "What's a
journalist?" He then answered his own question by saying, "We
need younger, more attractive anchors (male and female) who project
credibility." Note project credibility, not have credibility. And
this was at CNN.
She then contrasts the way Arnold Schwarzenegger played the media during
his election with the way Ronald Regan was treated by the media in 1966
when he ran for Governor. The difference is the development of Infotainment.
Both candidates knew how the media worked and played it well.
We are now in the
midst of a presidental election. What has the television news media
told us about either candidate. Not much. Yet from what we see on television
we are supposed to make up our minds about our leaders.
Ms. Anderson lived
throught the time when the changes from straight news to infotainment
were being made. Hers is a story worth knowing.
"Gunny" (Winnemucca, NV)
wonder why we get entertainment rather than news?
Having noticed that our news shows have slipped from news reporting
to entertainment stories, I've often wondered why. Anderson tells it
to us straight. She explains the Networks' competition for profits and
tricks they use to make what they have seem live and immediate. Anderson
brings our attention to why we are fed endless commentary about Survivor
or Jackson or Peterson. I've had enough. At last I understand. CNN and
the other networks for that matter aren't honest and can't be trusted
with the news if they trick us and turn the news into efforts to push
their other programs. Ugh!
Anderson takes a huge risk with this book. She seems to be a pioneer
in an effort to bring the truth back to news and stop the news media
from eating away at the First Amendment. Truth brings its dangers and
its hatred by the bosses. Her expose is going to make plenty of network
media bosses angry. Lucky for us, we have people like Anderson in this
world. I hope she is able to have an effect on the media bosses or we're
in very deep trouble as a nation. A news media in the hands of a few
and weak in terms of unslanted, full and honest news coverage is very
dangerous for a democracy. This book is a must read, thoughtful and
on the Media
The media it seems, is becoming far more dangerous than the Government.
Driven by greed and still blessed with the peoples trust, they hold
tremendous power. Know one knows it or tells it better than Bonnie Anderson.
With her lifelong experience and natural insticts she goes right to
the heart of the issue and reveals all in a straight forward, no holds
barred approach. We should all be thankful there are still real journalist
out there willing to put their reputations on the line to keep us informed.
(Redlands, CA United States)
News Selling Out The American People
Ms Anderson's 27 years of real life experiences provide an unbiased
examination of our elite news networks that will undoubtedly cause more
than a stir within her industry. News Flash is a courageous book that
exposes the greed within network news that has led to "INFOTAINMENT"
in lieu of conscientious, impartial journalism. One can only hope that
this book will cause real change in an industry that has always been
this countries shining light but has sadly gone astray.
Donald Burton (Scottsdale, AZ USA)
Freedom of the
Press - A Right or a Responsibility
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press but is there a responsibility
that comes with that freedom? Ms. Anderson clearly believes there is
as she takes us behind the scenes of major news organizations for a
look at what is happening to this precious right that men and women
have fought and died to protect for 200 years.
This well written and straight forward look at today's news media is
a MUST READ!
This is the type of book that you will read over and over again. It
gives you deep insight into what really goes on, and a view from the
inside that explains some of what you see and a lot of what you do not.
It is very interesting to have the explanations as to why the media
is in the sad state that it is today.
I can only hope that some of the directors of the media take the time
to read this and take some of the advice to heart. It can only help
the news industry get better. I would sure like to see more about and
from this gifted author. What a depth of experience. There must be many
more books and stories where this came from. Can't wait!
Lucas (Houston, Texas)
Ms. Anderson's eloquent analysis of the "State of our Media"confirmed
what many Americans have feared for some time. Branding this dilemma
"INFOTAINMENT" is brilliant.
Her insight and years of experience leave a clear picture in my mind
what's transpired in the news business the past two decades.
An informative, revealing and eye-opening must read.
A well written, insightful look at how things can and do happen in the
world of TV News.
Carl (Van Nuys, CA United States)
slopes of TV news
In the nineteen fifties, Chick Bush, as head of the Department of Communication
and Journalism at Stanford, told his students that the road to glory
for news media managers lay in "putting more meat in the soup"
and in finding some way to finance news coverage which wouldn't create
conflicts of interest. His only candidate for the latter was, only half
in jest, soft drink bottling.
In the nineteen seventies, someone at Northwestern's J School marinated
Bonnie Anderson in the Jeffersonian notion that the commonweal is best
served by a free press that tells the truth as best it can and lets
the public decide what to do about it.
In the early two
thousands, after a distinguished lifetime serving that credo, Anderson
finds that broadcast news has more carbonation in it than meat, that
network-owning conglomerates are tilting coverage in favor of their
other corporate subsidiaries and that the Administration goes beyond
just casting itself in a good light in trying to intimidate those guilty
of unfavorable coverage.
From the opening
page account of a fresh-from-Hollywood CNN exec who wanted to "cast"
anchors who could "project credibility" to the last page "call
to arms" to protect journalism as a pillar of democracy, News Flash
spares no one in detailing the ever-steeper, slippery slopes of TV news.
Anderson's impassioned "view with alarm" should be read by
both students and consumers of modern journalism, that is, evey American
who cares about the difference between a mirror held up to reality and
Account of Journalism Today
I have been so frustrated with what's shown on the news these days.
It's biased, boring and simply doesn't give a clear picture of what
is happening in the world. As an example, I have no idea how Iraqi people
truly feel about the war, their exiled leader, their new government
and the United States. No news organization has conducted any in depth
investigation, interviewed civilians, and exposed the good as well as
the bad in the lives of the people living in the area.
Ms. Anderson's book tells us why we don't have the full story in a way
no other can, because she has lived and breathed journalism for over
25 year. I was amazed to read her stories about Ethiopia and about trying
to hire news anchors for CNN. I was appalled at the focus on the bottom
line versus providing ethical, unbiased accounts of what is happening
in the world today.
the book. It's riveting and honest, and it presents a point of view
that you may not agree with, but will certainly think about.
L. Burns (Atlanta, GA USA)
EXPOSES NETWORKS OF NON NEWS SLANTS
I was sleepless in San Diego in an all night read absorbing author Anderson's
expose of the news networks nefarious publishing practices - for profit.
Case-hardened articulate Anderson exhibits professional journalistic
integrity to spare in taking on the big guys.
Read it and weap
about the sad state of sellouts in the non news networks.
(San Diego, CA)