Weapons of Mass Deception: Book Reviews and Author Interviews

"The Propaganda Industry: A Conversation With Sheldon Rampton," Austin Chronicle, October 17, 2003
"Obviously we want to explain how some of the misrepresentations were made that got us into this mess in Iraq, because I think that helps somewhat in figuring out how we're going to get out of the mess."
"Is Bush PR Spinning Right Out of Orbit?" (interview with John Stauber), Capital Times, October 8, 2003
"The American public needs to wake up to the fact it was snookered ."
"War Is Peace" (interview), Salon.com, September 30, 2003
"Propaganda is sometimes successful at deceiving people, but oftentimes it's much less successful at influencing its target population than it is at helping the propaganda team deceive themselves."
"Halabja," (interview with John Stauber), Democracy Now, September 29, 2003
"The secretary of state went to Halabja recently and said the U.S. should have acted sooner there because of what occurred there, which is the gassing of thousands of men, women, and men. And here is the ultimate hypocrisy. I think this has become the primary justification now for the war. But the event occurred in 1988. The chemicals were supplied by the Reagan administration."
"Iraq Attack Critics Start to Get Heard," Toronto Star, August 26, 2003
"The 'mistakes' about and around the attack on Iraq were not just honest reporting gone wrong but something far more insidious."
Interview with Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, BarnesAndNoble.com
"The Bush administration has been successful at persuading Americans that an aggressive, hostile foreign policy will make them safer, even though the evidence so far suggests that it is doing the opposite."
Weekly Dig, Boston, MA
"The authors' tone throughout is professional and a smart read; one of analysis rather than accusation. ... Specific occurrences of spin from public statements and press conferences by officials such as Bush, Fleischer and Rumsfeld are thoroughly compared with well-researched facts from news sources and official reports (the last quarter of the book is a detailed list of all of their sources). The result is a realistic, compelling and absolutely frightening revelation of how the motivated and powerful few have completely sold the US their proverbial 'Baghdad Bridge.'"
"Lessons in How to Lie About Iraq," Brian Eno, The Observer (UK), August 17, 2003
"When I was young, an eccentric uncle decided to teach me how to lie. Not, he explained, because he wanted me to lie, but because he thought I should know how it's done so I would recognise when I was being lied to. I hope writers such as Rampton and Stauber and others may have the same effect and help to emasculate the culture of spin and dissembling that is overtaking our political establishments."
"War Pimps," Counterpunch, August 16, 2003
"Stauber and Rampton give us an immediate history, a real-time deconstruction of the mechanics of the Bush war machine."
"The U.S. Spin Cycle," Hartford Courant, August 14, 2003
"Weapons of Mass Deception will, of course, anger Bush supporters and all others who consider themselves conservatives, but wait: Stauber concedes that our current president is only following in the footsteps of his GOP and Democratic predecessors."
"Marketing the Invasion of Iraq," WorkingForChange.com, August 13, 2003
"Among the lessons gleaned from "Weapons of Mass Deception" is how this administration readily pulls together a dream team of spinmeisters and story tellers - government agencies, highly paid public relations firms, political hacks, and a willing media - to market its message."
Bad Subjects, August 13, 2003
"Nukes and chemical and biological weapons may be capable of wreaking a lot of havoc, but when it comes to war today, they aren't the real big guns. The real powers, it turns out, are the PR agencies."
The Hightower Lowdown, Austin Chronicle, August 15, 2003
"Rips the curtain open on the Wizard of Oz message manipulation blasting out of the Bush White House every day."
Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), August 8, 2003
"The first comprehensive attempt to explain the PR offensive and media complicity in selling the 'necessity' of invasion. ... This book is a major step towards holding our elected officials accountable for telling tales."
Charlotte Observer, August 4, 2003
"Some of the book's best research comes in the chapter 'True Lies,' which dispels many of the myths that resounded through the media's echo-chamber in the months leading up to the war -- such as the supposed connection between Iraq and the Sept. 11 hijackers, a story that helped generate pro-war sentiment but originated in rumor, not fact."
"How the War Was Spun," Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), August 1, 2003
"The book makes for a wild read. The authors are not Washington insiders but a couple of leftie activists with a sweeping conspiracy theory: that the Bush Administration harnessed public intelligence agencies, private 'think tanks,' White House staff, a huge PR machine, cynical media proprietors, opportunistic journalists and vast amounts of money to fabricate 'evidence' supporting war on a country that might not even retain WMDs. Just three months ago, at the time the authors finished writing, this would have sounded fringe flaky. Not now, though. The more you read of this detailed and comprehensively sourced book, the more compelling it gets. And the post-mortems being conducted in the US and Britain keep confirming more and more of their detail."
"Unveiling Bush's Mass Deceptions," Capital Times, July 29, 2003
"Like a flashlight in a cave, "Weapons of Mass Deception" shows the way out from the spin zone that the Bush administration and its stenographic media have created."
"How Bush's Campaign for War was a Victory for Spin," San Francisco Chronicle, July 27, 2003
"Critics of the Bush administration have frequently commented on its use of wartime propaganda, but this is the first book to compile a wide range of case studies under a single cover. It is clearly and passionately written, and meticulously footnoted evidence will surely make many readers indignant. ... One can only hope that it will soon be made into a TV documentary or feature-length film."
"Spinning Yarns," Guardian (UK), July 26, 2003.
"The weapons in question are those of propaganda: this superb study analyses how the US news media consented to present a highly spun and sanitised movie of "Operation Iraqi Freedom". It also remorselessly, and amusingly, exposes the doublethink that informs such phrase-making."
iBrattleboro.com, July 25, 2003
"What Rampton and Stauber do so well is put it all together so that the patterns of deception are easier to see and understand.They put it in context and eliminate the chaotic nature of soundbites and press briefings. It's concise, easy-to-follow, and is fascinating."
Interview with Sheldon Rampton, Buzzflash.com, July 24, 2003.
"Commercial advertising, like public relations and other forms of propaganda, is ultimately about controlling the message. There’s an emphasis on ensuring consistency and uniformity of messages, which is very much at odds with the democratic model of communicating."
"War on Words Deception," Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), July 23, 2003
"A recently published book looking at a shadowy outfit with close CIA links suggests truth is a continuing casualty of wars, including Iraq."
Interview with Sheldon Rampton, The Fire This Time, July 12, 2003.
"Guerrillas of the Week," Guerrilla News Network, July 7, 2003
"Stauber and Rampton have provided a comprehensive document that years from now, when the history of how the American people were hoodwinked into this disastrous conflict is being written, will be invaluable." This review includes an accompanying interview with John Stauber.
World-Information.org, July 1, 2003
"While there are a great many publications addressing the disinformation campaigns around the Iraq war, the merit of this book lies in its timeliness and clarity, but above all in the wealth of sources it uses and fully documents for readers to verify and pursue. The book shows how Bush’s War on Iraq was so closely intertwined with monstrous disinformation campaigns carried out by the US government with the support of PR agencies and mainstream media that it seems hard to tell whether the war itself was not merely the hardware component of the PR campaign. But in spite of all this, the book manages to avoid apocalyptic undertones, addressing its subject in a surprisingly sober language that contrasts sharply with the book’s flashy cover."
Utne Reader, June 30, 2003
"The first book to expose the Bush administration’s sophisticated public relations campaign promoting the invasion of Iraq in what was actually termed a 'product launch' by the White House."