#Newsfail: Climate Change, Feminism, Gun Control, and Other Fun Stuff We Talk About Because Nobody Else Will by Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein
Published: October 14th, 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Genre(s): Non-fiction, politics, feminism, sociology
Pages: 224 pgs
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A hilarious and informative primer on the most urgent issues of our day, from the creators and co-hosts of Citizen Radio, a 100% listener-supported show whose slogan is “independent radio that won’t lead you to war.”
#Newsfail is not your grandmother’s comedic-memoir-slash-political-manifesto. From page one (in a preface titled, “In Which the Authors Interview Ralph Nader in the Bathtub”), comedian Jamie Kilstein and journalist Allison Kilkenny pledge to give you the news like you’ve never gotten it before.
On issues ranging from feminism to gun control, climate change to class war, foreign policy to net neutrality, they tell you how the mainstream media gets it left, right, and utterly, unforgivably, irresponsibly wrong—think Noam Chomsky as channeled by Fred and Carrie from “Portlandia.”#Newsfail is all this, plus the story of Allison and Jamie’s own DIY foray into independent media via their podcast, Citizen Radio, which has featured guests such as Jeremy Scahill, Sarah Silverman, Glenn Greenwald, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, and been downloaded millions of times by people all over the world.
Their mission is truth-telling above brainwashing. All you have to do is listen.
I’m going to be totally honest here: I’m probably not the target audience Kilstein and Kilkenny had in mind when they committed pens to paper. This is not because I’m a hard and fast conservative, but because I’m already in tune with how mainstream media has failed us on reporting major issues in recent years. As a journalist, I’m already used to looking at stories objectively and finding the truth to report, just like the authors. Their target is clearly someone without this knowledge and experience behind them.
And that’s totally fine! While reading #Newsfail, I quickly picked up on treating this book like a primer for those who are just getting their feet wet in independent media and questioning what’s fed to them from the 24-hour news cycle. This is a great introduction to important issues — reproductive rights, gun control, drug legislation, racism, etc. — that often get cast to the wayside, or even made fun of, by the major news outlets.
All within the span of less than 200 pages, Kilkenny and Kilstein do a fantastic job of summing up exactly what the issues are while pointing out where reporting has gone wrong. Their casual and witty style makes this book approachable for the newbies who wouldn’t appreciate being condescended to when just starting out. It reads like a conversation between friends who are dedicated to helping educate others. They even make sure to cite their sources, just as good journalists should do.
While I probably knew too much for who the authors were trying to reach, I can definitely see this as a worthwhile tool for people like myself to give to friends who are just starting to question everything. Furthermore, I think Kilkenny and Kilstein have just made a new subscriber to their podcast.
Amazing Pug Scale: