The Media Group
“The Glasgow Media Unit may have been the scourge of the Establishment. But its methodical approach to research won admirers - and imitators - on all sides. In the 1980's, conservative supporters were copying its techniques to expose alleged Labour leanings in the BBC. The emergence of spin doctors and media advisers in all political parties can be linked to the work done in Glasgow. The media unit was the first to pay attention to visual context in which people were interviewed. The wrong backdrop can mean electoral death. They have skills to rival any market research organisation, combined with a name independent researchers would die for.”
(The Sunday Times)
More Bad News from Israel (G.Philo and M. Berry, Pluto Press, 2011)
"Accessible, readable and scrupulousy evenhanded...an invaluable resource, not only for students of politics and communications studies, but for anyone interested in the history and current affairs of the region. The raw data alone makes this book a worthwhile publication - but it is much more than simply data. 'More Bad News from Israel' is an extremely useful tool for understanding how to interpret and navigate bias in how the news is presented."
(New Left Project)
Bad News from Israel (G. Philo and M. Berry, Pluto Press, 2004)
"Every journalist should read this book; every student of journalism should read it."
(John Pilger, New Statesman)
"This superb study is extensive in scope and scrupulously fair. It will be a landmark."
(Professor Edward S. Herman, University of Pennsylvania)
"A remarkable book, very comprehensive, with an innovative approach and full of interesting examples. It is convincing and very useful not only for researchers but for the general public as well."
(Professor Lucrecia Escudero Chauvel, University de Lille III and Paris VIII)
"The study shows the crucial importance of TV news in informing public opinion and the powerful influence it can have on how we see and understand our world. It also shows too how news can fail to inform, and the researchers do suggest different and innovative approaches to improve the quality of news. The study also raises serious questions for broadcasters - indeed, all journalists - about their responsibility in trying to tell the truth to the public while maintaining impartiality."
"According to Bad News from Israel, a fascinating new book by the Glasgow University Media Group, mainstream current affairs coverage is leaving more and more of us bored, completely bewildered, or both."
(The Mail on Sunday)
"At least one core argument of the book is hard to dispute: the notion that without a sense of the historical context of a decades-old conflict, a fair picture of the killing and suffering on both sides in the past four years of Intifada is difficult, if not impossible, to project. In some instances, the result has been precisely the opposite - to misrepresent the actions of Israel."
"In a remarkable and scientific study of the manner in which the main UK terrestrial news broadcasters (BBC and ITV) cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Professor Greg Philo and Dr Mike Berry of the Glasgow University Media Group have detailed how that news coverage tends to promote the Israeli perspective while ensuring that viewers remain ignorant of the actual causes that lie behind that long-running tragedy. In an added bonus, the first ninety pages of this book are devoted to a superb concise history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the perspective of both Israeli and Palestinian sources."
(The Muslim Weekly)
"Bad News from Israel will have wide-ranging repercussions at a time when many people question the inter-relationship of the media and the political forces, the media's dulled critical edge and its role in trumpeting recent wars...an important contribution to what eventually will be an important debate in our societies regarding the role of the media, and news coverage in particular."
(Paul de Rooij, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs)
"The recent Glasgow University report on the Middle East has some persuasive arguments, but the clock nevertheless sometimes strikes 13. The Glasgow report cites ignorance about the Middle East among 17-22 year-olds, but these are a notoriously difficult group for BBC television news to reach - and there should surely be a responsibility for schools or colleges to teach about the Middle East and for people themselves to seek out knowledge."
(Roger Mosey, Head of BBC television news, writing in The Guardian)
"A modest study conducted by an unknown academic."
Opprobrium for Bad News From Israel
Alongside the many welcome critical responses, Bad News From Israel generated some misleading attacks on our work. The examples below are available to read and download, together with our replies. The first is a review which appeared in The Economist. The second is a review by Mike Brennan, availble online in Dissent magazine.
Economist review and our reply
Mike Brennan critique
Our reply to Mike Brennan's critique
Getting the Message: News, Truth and Power (GUMG ed. John Eldridge, Routledge, 1993)
”This volume is an illuminating and valuable addition to the field of media studies, which sensibly combines theoretical insight with valuable empirical investigation. In short, I have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone with even a cursory interest in the role of the mass media in contemporary society.”
”The essays have a good old positivist clarity that epitomises the genuinely elucidatory aims of the Glasgow Group.”
(New Statesman and Society)
“'You don't want to read everything you read in the paper,' we say, but what else are we supposed to do? TV news in particular comes into the living room with all the force of a given. Seeing is believing. No one has done more to expose this conspiracy of cosiness through more then 20 years than the Glasgow Media Group. British Leyland and its Seventies sleepy-shifts; the ravening bacchantes of Greenham; the waiting wives who were interviewed about Our Boys in the Falklands - and the widows who weren't; the smart weapons of the Gulf War - and the less intelligent ones we didn't get to hear about: It's all here. The Glasgow Group have got their hands dirty with a nuts-and-bolts dismantling of the manufacture of consent, taking apart news coverage image by image, word by word. There are no Thought Police in the modern democracy, but Big Brother exists just the same, dispersed in the minds of self-censoring broadcasters and journalists. An extravagant claim? Read all about it, chapter and verse, in the enthralling, disturbing pieces collected here."
”Vital sourcebooks, informed by theory, but always hot on lavish empirical data.”
(New Statesman and Society)
Message Received (Ed. G. Philo, Longman 1999)
”Message Received potentially has the widest of audiences, from politicians and public policy-makers, to media students. It is a thought-provoking read with wise views on society and media.”
(Times Higher Educational Supplement)
(ed. G.Philo and D. Miller, Longman 2000)
”Market Killing is a terrific book. It articulates very clearly what the consequences and costs, culturally-economically-politically, of post-modernist academic theorisation have been.”
(The Media Channel, Book Corner)
”It will fuel a debate that has been rumbling on in the United kingdom - if not sotto voce, at least for the most part politely coded - for several years. Articles and chapters addressing the media/cultural-studies divide have been appearing over the past few years, but this book represents the end of the polite conversation and the start of something altogether more vigorous - and three cheers for that."
(Times Higher Educational Supplement)
”This is a book for academics and cultural students brave enough to use the ammunition it contains to attempt to bring their teachers down to earth. The last word on this should go to Noam Chomsky who is of course an academic himself and a great believer in critical scholarship: 'There are moments when a critical stance towards one's own society is (barely) tolerated; periods of popular ferment and struggle. But these moments are the exceptions in the history of intellectuals and academic social scientists. The usual stance is triumphalism about domestic power and providing the ideological support for it, meanwhile feathering ones own nest.'”
”A more ideological attack upon academic research has now been mounted by .the Glasgow University Media Group. (The book) condemns a great deal of contemporary social science research for its failure to engage with the real world. Academics have become “lost in language games in which the ‘real' is just another discourse ”. Indeed so fascinated have some social scientist become with the relativistic and self-referential vacuities of post-modernism they completely ignore any reference to human agency, to the role citizens might play in changing the World in which they find themselves. This self-insulating is compounded by the readiness of academics to retreat into private languages, to take refuge in an obscurity that “secures the status of the author ” and, in some cases, disguises the “slightness of their contribution to public debate ”. In these circumstances we can only be grateful that there are some new heroes on the block. The practical results of this academic “abdication of responsibility ” conclude Philo and Miller, is that the hard work of uncovering the truth about such matters as political corruption, state secrecy and surveillance, censorship and news reporting, and the growth of media empires, has been left to journalists. ”