Tragedy and Farce

Tragedy and Farce

How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy

By John Nichols; Robert W. McChesney; Tom Tomorrow (Illustrator)

New Press, Hardcover, 9781595580160, 211pp.

Publication Date: November 2005


Thomas Frank called "Tragedy and Farce" "an appeal to reason in a dark time." Including the sharpest analysis of 2004 election coverage yet and the first detailed look at the burgeoning media reform movement, this book is both an exposE and a call to action. In it John Nichols and Robert McChesney--two of the country's leading media analysts--argue that during the 2004 election and throughout the Iraq war and occupation, Americans have been starved of democracy's oxygen: accurate information. More than anything John Kerry, George Bush, or even Karl Rove did, the media's miscoverage of the campaign and war decided the election. Most disturbingly, the flawed coverage reflects new, structural problems within U.S. journalism.

"Tragedy and Farce" dissects the media failures of recent years and shows how they expose the decline in resources and standards for political journalism--as well as the methodical campaign by the political right to control the news cycle. In our highly concentrated media system it has become commercially and politically irrational to do the kind of journalism a self-governing society requires.

About the Author
John Nichols is The Nation's Washington correspondent and an editor at the Capital Times. He is the author of The Rise and Rise of Richard B. Cheney and Jews for Buchanan. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C.

Robert W. McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of The Political Economy of Media, Communication Revolution, The Problem of the Media, and Rich Media, Poor Democracy.

Tom Tomorrow's weekly comic strip, This Modern World, appears regularly in approximately 150 papers across the U.S. and Canada, as well as on and Working for Change. He is the author of numerous carton collections, including Hell in a Handbasket and The Great Big Book of Tomorrow.