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No Questions Asked


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"We all tend to trust the news sources we know until we are exposed to others that often have different takes and better reporting. That's why comparative shopping is as important in following news as in buying toasters. We should all be in debt to Lisa Finnegan who skillfully shows how and why our media is falling down on the job. Her book No Questions Asked poses questions we need to answer." -- Danny Schechter, News Dissector, Editor, Mediachannel.org "What is the optimal role of U.S. news media in a democratic society under external attack? Veteran journalist Lisa Finnegan combines her sharp eye and crisp pen to offer her insights on dramatic accommodations by journalists following the evil of 9-11-01. Her analysis of media malaise is meticulously documented with primary sources, and unusually well-grounded in behavioral research on concepts relevant to journalist's current behavior conformity, obedience, and group dynamics. A powerful book for anyone seeking to better understand the dynamics behind journalism in this stressful time." -- Harold Takooshian, PhD, President, Society for General Psychology, American Psychological Association "Finnegan's thought-provoking book of cases questions if the press lives up to its mission to provide the U.S. public with factual, objective, and unbiased reporting. She calls for reporting that would better educate the public of the true state of affairs--both domestically and internationally--without being skewed and manipulated by politicians to further their agenda. The issues she raises are ones Americans need to think about urgently." -- Dr. John M. Hamilton, Dean, Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University "For every reporter who challenged the lies, half-truths, and exaggerations that fueled the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq and its so--called war on terrorism, a dozen others drank the Kool-Aid. Lisa Finnegan has assembled, in chapter after sobering chapter, the sorry record of how big chunks of the U.S. media establishment abandoned skepticism and acted as virtual wartime propagandists for the White House and the Pentagon after 9/11. No Questions Asked makes the case that if Americans are in the dark about how we got into this mess, it was our newspapers and our television networks who turned out the lights." -- Robert Dreyfuss, Author, Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam

About the Author

Lisa Finnegan is an independent, award-winning journalist who has spent nearly two decades reporting for newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and abroad. After the 9/11 attacks she obtained a master's degree in educational psychology and began to focus on the psychology of terrorism and its impact on the media. She has published articles on the subject in professional journals and has spoken at conferences around the United States. She is an active member of the American Psychological Association.


"Finnegan's convincing, readable, and meticulously researched book concerns the failure of the US press to adequately cover real news since the 9/11 attacks. Conservatives will probably accuse Finnegan (an award-winning journalist and a scholar of the psychology of terrorism and the media) of a liberal bias in maintaining that the Bush administration and Fox News bullied a compliant media into censoring key news stories and printing pro-administration propaganda pieces. But no one can deny that the alarming evidence Finnegan presents in support of that contention is well documented and raises questions that need to be asked. This book is more substantive than some other books on the subject (Bernard Goldberg's work comes to mind), many of which are underresearched and rancorous in their attempts to expose the media as liberal, and it is easier to read than David Barker's heavily footnoted, statistic-laden Rushed to Judgment (2002), which argues that the media are 6rnservative. Although the debate over whether the media is fundamentally left- or right-wing may never be settled, Finnegan addresses the controversy with a minimum of snarkiness and moral outrage and a preponderance of facts and intelligent analysis. Essential. All readers; all levels." - Choice
"Finnegan's basic argument is that the American media have been largely responsible for such misperceptions because they have failed to maintain an independent, critical position in relation to 11 September, the war on terror, and the current Bush administration more generally. Her aim is thus to present examples of these failings, which she does to great effect by examining how various major American newspapers and television networks have covered news items ranging from the allied bombings of Afghanistan, to the effects of the USA Patriot Act (2001), to aspects of the war in Iraq....and on to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina....[T]he fact that she is able to build such a convincing argument about the malaise of media freedoms in America by drawing on reports from the media itself is testament to her skill in closely probing and contrasting particular media reports. It also shows that there are still flashes of good, critial life in the American media yet." - Journal of American Studies
"^INo Questions Asked: News Coverage Since 9/11^R is a clear-headed, methodical exposition on the medias failings since that fateful day....Finnegans unique perspective is that she approaches her subject matter as a journalist who earned a masters degree in educational psychology after the events of Sept. 11. But while the blending of these perspectives provides an academic frame for her understanding of the psychology of terrorism and how it affects the media, its Finnegans working knowledge of journalists and their group-think tendencies that enables her to connect the dots in so devastating a fashion. Reading ^INo Questions Asked^R is a sobering task, and one that should be required of any aspiring journalist before he or she takes on the mantle." - The Newspaper Guild
"Many others have documented the press' letdown in fulfilling its adversarial role after 9/11. Seeing the problem is easy. Explaining it is harder. So Finnegan's rather studious approach, drawing on individual and group psychology, holds promise for not only understanding the failures but pointing toward reforms....Her suggestions boil down to detachment and determination: Ask hard questions, pursue documentation, seek comments outside the party line and follow up on loose ends and claims. It seems like pretty good psychology: Just use your head." - American Journalism Review
"^INo Questions Asked: News Coverage since 9/11^R surveys the American media and its manipulation post-9/11, considering how the facts were misunderstood by the American public due to the lack of the right questions from reporters, and pinpointing mistruths about the war in Iraq and the nature of the threat of world terrorism. An eye-opening survey of democratic process and news reporting emerges which holds particular impact and importance for any college-level library strong in media studies." - Midwest Book Review - California Bookwatch
"With the passage of time, it has become more and more apparent how the American press failed to question the Bush administration response to 9/11 attacks on the U.S., according to independent journalist Finnegan, who explores those failures and what they may have cost the nation. Fear of being perceived as unpatriotic and willingness to accept information doled out by the administration led many journalists to retreat from their responsibility to question policies on the war on terror. The administration was not adequately probed on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the need to topple Saddam Hussein, and the Patriot Act and a host of other policies that have been set in place since 9/11. Finnegan describes the build-up to war and the psychological manipulation the administration used on the public and the press....This is a penetrating look at American news coverage at a critical time in U.S. history." - Booklist
"While many commentators have drawn connections between the miserably uncritical treatment of the Bush administration by the media following the September 11th attacks and the ability of the administration to initiate the invasion and occupation of Iraq based on nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and equally nonexistent ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, fewer have sought to map out the entire American media landscape in the era of the War on Terror, as independent journalist Finnegan does here. The picture that emerges is, if anything, worse, with even the self-bestowed accolades for the media's coverage of Hurricane Katrina withering under scrutiny. Beyond criticizing the structural and cultural factors that preclude media skepticism towards the powerful, she also documents the many ways that the American media has come to serve essentially as a propaganda organ for government." - Reference & Research Book News

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