News Flash, Bonnie M. Anderson

About Bonnie




"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 book."
- Ken Auletta, writer for The New Yorker and author

"News Flash 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

"My grandmother 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

"Anderson documents 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 in Lebanon

The True Story

Bonnie Andersons 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 of.

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 (Houston, Texas)


Recent 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.

This 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.

Andersons 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.

A reader (Carlsbad, California)

Read, because 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 Cocca Beach.
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 soon.
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.

A reader

Finally---an 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".

Gene Holmblad (Arkansas)

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.

John Matlock "Gunny" (Winnemucca, NV)

Ever 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 very scary.

A reader

Bonnie Anderson 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. Bravo Bonnie!

Crystal Bishop (Redlands, CA United States)

Network 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!

Janet Arrigo (Oceanside, CA)


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!

Andrea Lucas (Houston, Texas)

Suspicions Confirmed

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.

Michael Curts (Indianapolis, IN)

A Great Read

A well written, insightful look at how things can and do happen in the world of TV News.

Carri Carl (Van Nuys, CA United States)

The slippery 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 infotainment.

A reader

Brilliant 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.

Read 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.

Karen L. Burns (Atlanta, GA USA)


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.

Bob Miller (San Diego, CA)