Library Journal

September 15, 2011 (p. 59)

The Influencing MachineGladstone, Brooke (text) & Josh Neufeld (illus.). The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media. Norton, 2011. nop. bibliog. ISBN 9780393077797. $23.95. COMM "In a world of ceaseless distractions, ideas that grab you by the eyeballs are more likely to stick," Gladstone noted in her proposal for this graphic novel (New York Observer, 5/26/09). Indeed, the result is as much a public service announcement for the power of comics as it is a disquisition on media in general. Like a chatty but interesting poli-sci professor, Gladstone's lines-on-paper avatar takes us through media history, source accuracy (or not), journalist impartiality (or not), bias (seven kinds), dilemmas relating to war reporting, objectivity (ot not), disclosure, tricks the mind plays on understanding news stories, and how the media mirror ourselves in all of our human diversity now and into the future. Neufeld's blackand-white art, enlivened with teal wash, enhances Gladstone's points effectively, although without the compelling appeal of his lauded A.D. New Orleans: After the Deluge. Gladstone has been cohost of NPR's On the Media since 2000. VERDICT This comprehensive overview of media history and issues — responsibly referenced in over 200 detailed notes — should be required reading for nearly everybody over age ten, media students, and plain ole citizens, especially. Highly recommended. — M.C.

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