#BookReview: Manipulating The Message by Cecil Rosner

This Review Is *NOT* A Paid Ad. Up front, because one of the large points Rosner makes is about just how much “influencer” peddling actually happens, let me be 100% perfectly clear: I had never heard of Rosner nor his publisher before picking up this book from NetGalley (yes, it is an advance reader copy). The title and description sounded like something that was interesting to me, so I picked it up. Period.

But that actually *does* get to the very points Rosner makes throughout this text, and he repeatedly uses real world examples both well known and very obscure to show his points. Basically, *everyone* is suspect – and you *should* do your own research. Yes, there are experts. Yes, objective truth exists. But are you actually hearing from them? Are you actually getting anything remotely close to the objective truth on the topic at hand? Rosner spends about 86% of his nearly 300 pages showing that… eh, you may not be, on either question. No matter where your “news” is coming from. At any level.

Truly a phenomenal expose on the topic, very well written and extremely informative. While Rosner is based in Canada and thus several of his examples are also based there, he also covers the situation in the US in particular quite well – and because of this, his points likely hold reasonably well at least through Western nations and *possibly* in every location on the globe (and beyond).

The star deduction is really two half stars – one half because at 14%, his bibliography is just shy of the range I normally expect to see in a book such as this based on my extensive experience reading these types of nonfiction ARCs, that range being closer to 20-30%. The other half star is due to the elitism that is so pervasive throughout the text. While actually decently balanced – while he spends an entire chapter *mostly* railing against Libertarian think tanks in Canada, he *does* also point out others of other political persuasions that are just as bad, and spends at least some actual time covering them and their faults as well, for example – even in the balance, the overall elitist disdain for so many of us just pours through his writing. And to be clear, I myself am a former political blogger – well before my book blogging days – that actually broke several local and even Statewide news items. And had more journalistic integrity than at least some of the “professionals” on those beats. (But those are ultimately stories for another time and place. 😉 ) My point here being that at least this reader is not simply some fly by night *very* minor “book influencer” (as some authors have called me *with pride* – rather than disdain), and Rosner realistically should have expected that many, perhaps even most, eventual readers of this book would have some level of journalistic experience. Which makes the elitism that much harder to swallow.

Still, ultimately this truly was a very good, well written expose on just how much media manipulation is in our every day lives, from the local to the national and throughout even social media as well.

Very much recommended.

This review of Manipulating The Message by Cecil Rosner was originally written on November 22, 2023.