The New Yorker "Briefly Noted"
October 3, 2011 (p. 79)
The Influencing Machine, by Brooke Gladstone (Norton; $23.95). Written by the co-host of NPR's excellentweekend program "On the Media," and niftily illustrated byJosh Neufeld, one of Harvey Pekar's old artist colleagues, this graphic-novel-style approach is both hilarious and levelheaded as it takes on issues like bias, objectivity, and the effect of the Internet on the way we see and judge the events ofthe world. Gladstone cuts away the pseudo-academic jargon and hysteria that have infected talk about media and rehearses the debates with efficiency and wit. She is a realist with a sharp historical sense — seeing things clear and avoiding lazy pieties and reactionary forecasts of apocalypse. This is a comic book with zest and brains — and it just might help a reader understand the brave new world.