MEDIUM BLUE: Barack Obama wasn’t the only beneficiary of the calamitous Bush years. Something of an industry punchline since its formation in 1996, MSNBC suddenly gained a comprehensible voice during the era, while pinning its hopes upon the inspiring senator from Illinois. Obama’s victory spelled success for the network, which saw a sizable ratings increase and began positioning itself as a viable alternative to the right-wing propaganda of Fox News. However, a close inspection of the station’s programming and an analysis of their celebrity hosts generate troubling questions about the state of the American media. MSNBC has shilled for Obama’s wars, defended the administration’s illegal spying programs and failed to hold our broken political system accountable. Medium Blue serves as a primer to help navigate the ultimate futility of our distinguished liberal media. Published by CounterPunch 2014. Paperback. 101 pages.
GUILLOTINED: Alexander Cockburn sets out to save the English language from abuse by journalists, politicians, and bloggers. Cockburn lines up a most wanted list of cliches, over-used phrases and tedious words and consigns them for execution. In his lethally sharp prose, the co-editor of the popular website and political newsletter CounterPunch inveighs against the corruption and debasement of common speech. He ridicules the use of hackneyed terms like “national conversation,” “international community,” and “sustainable development.” This short, scorching pamphlet was Cockburn’s final work. Guillotined was literally written on his deathbed. But the prose is fiery as ever. From the pen of one its greatest practitioners, Guillotined is a lucid and funny polemic about saving the English language from extinction. Published by CounterPunch 2012. 31 Pages.