One of the unspoken assumptions of the Western world is that we are great defenders of human rights, a free press and the benefits of market economics. Mistakes might be made along the way, perhaps even tragic errors of judgement such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But the prevailing view is that the West is essentially a force for good in the wider world. Why Are We The Good Guys? is a provocative challenge of this false ideology.
David Cromwell digs beneath standard accounts of crucial issues such as foreign policy, climate change and the constant struggle between state-corporate power and genuine democracy. The powerful evidence-based analysis of current affairs is leavened by some of the formative experiences that led the author to question the basic myth of Western benevolence: from schoolroom experiments in democracy, exposure to radical ideas at home, and a mercy mission while at sea; to an unexpected encounter with former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, the struggles to publish hard-hitting journalism, and the founding of Media Lens in 2001.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Media Lens's editors David Cromwell and David Edwards have over the years become important analysts of the corporate media's failure to meaningfully engage with the real world of greed, mendacity, destructive economic and financial practices, relentless environmental destruction and constant mounting of illegal wars. [...]
Cromwell has now written another useful book about these themes with some interesting self-biographical interludes. He also includes many exchanges with mainstream media journalists which never cease to amaze me. [...]
These elite journalists seem incapable of understanding why they are being criticized. Cromwell sums up the failure of mainstream media thus: “… media professionals have long played a crucial role in the protection of private power by maintaining the illusion that members of the public are offered an ‘ímpartial' and wide selection of facts, opinions and perspectives from which any individual can derive his or her own well-informed world view.” (p. 142)
http://www.lausti.com/articles/media/cromwell.html ~ Tapani Lausti, Finnish blogger
Why Are We the Good Guys? is proof Cromwell is one of the most incisive and humane radical writers working today. ~ Ian Sinclair, Morning Star
'I've had the privilege of reading this book before it went on sale, and I genuinely can't recommend it enough - please buy/download it, read it and pass it on. It examines the construction of neoliberal societies from all angles - economical, political, philosophical, social etc - and lays it bare. The analysis of how these societies are propped up by a complicit media is brilliant. Once you've read this book, you'll be an expert in arguing the case for a different way of structuring society against anyone who argues in defence of the current system! Please read it :-) Amena Saleem'
~ Amena Saleem, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Facebook
Tweeting about the book:
'Brilliant antidote to the pro-war propaganda we're subject to.'
Journalist and broadcaster Neil Clark, Twitter, 14 September 2012, 10.34am; https://twitter.com/NeilClark66/status/246543263627096064 ~ Neil Clark, Twitter
I struggled with this book review. I struggled to find something to disagree with or to suggest an improvement. This is a tremendously comprehensive review of all the ways in which mainstream Western media distort our view of reality in the key context of foreign affairs. With a particular emphasis on the Middle East but with good historical depth rooting understanding in US policy after World War II, Cromwell does an excellent job of organising a wide range of evidence, neglected by our media, yet fundamental to any meaningful understanding of our deeply embedded bad faith. The bad faith, which enables our media and many of its consumers to think that we are ‘the good guys’.
This is an ideal introduction for any reader and, also, is a very useful source for students in schools, colleges and universities. Flaws? I found one! When you’ve finished with this excellent book, go on to read Edward Said whose ‘Orientalism’ will deepen your understanding of how ‘The West’, including the liberal academic elite, is imbued with discriminatory biases regarding Arabs and Islam. ~ Dr John Robertson, Reader in Media Politics, University of West Scotland
One of the beacons in a politically dark world is the light cast by a moral few who analyse and reveal how journalism works in the cause of power. David Cromwell has pride of place in this company. Every member of the public and every journalist with an ounce of scepticism about authority should read his outstanding book. ~ John Pilger, journalist and documentary maker
Cromwell displays his unbending commitment to follow the facts wherever they lead. Asks the questions about OUR leaders that polite society and the mainstream media will not go near. An indispensable tool of intellectual self defence. ~ David Miller, co-author of A Century of Spin, co-founder of Spinwatch, Professor of Sociology at the University of Bath.UK
‘Propaganda is something they do; news what we do. They commit terror; we seek to create stability. Our enemies are inhuman; we, only too human, occasionally demonstrate our fallibility. David Cromwell brilliantly exposes the daily lies our media feed us to reassure us that we are a force for good in the world, while our governments, militaries and corporations are free to rape and pillage weaker nations and the planet. This book is an invaluable antidote to the conditioning that all those living in the west are constantly subjected to.’ - ~ Jonathan Cook, author of Disappearing Palestine
'This book is truly essential reading, focusing on one of the key issues, if not THE issue, of our age: how to recognise the deep, everyday brainwashing to which we are subjected, and how to escape from it. This book brilliantly exposes the extent of media disinformation, and does so in a compelling and engaging way.' ~ Mark Curtis, author of 'Web of Deceit' and 'Unpeople'
David Cromwell knows that media power works by acting on consciousness; by shaping our individual sense of values, identity and belonging to normalise the mores of the powerful. This creates the collective false self of a 'we' that controls the hammer of violence, leaving more violated empathy and senselessness in its wake. How do we wake up from the frozen awareness of such psychic numbing? Understanding the drivers and techniques of media power is a good starting point. This is what 'Why Are *We* The Good Guys?' sets out to do, and valiantly so. ~ Professor Alastair McIntosh, author of 'Soil and Soul'.
'Part memoir, part media critique, Why Are *We* The Good Guys? is also an eye-opening survey of "things they don't want you to know". If you've ever been curious about Media Lens, Britain's most radical media monitoring group, co-founder David Cromwell explains how it came about and produces examples of its polite but in-your-face approach to dealing with journalists. A valuable account of an invaluable project.' - Milan Rai, activist, co-editor of 'Peace News' and author of 'War Plan Iraq' ~