“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality,” explains an unnamed Bush administration official. This quote sets the tone for a new edited collection reflecting on the role of the media in constructing reality. The lack of a “truth” does not quell the public demand for one, as Boler aptly points out in her introduction: “The desire and longing for truth expressed by the public demands for media accountability is in tension with the coexisting recognition of the slipperiness of meaning” (p. 7). Media, then, in all their forms, become a central battleground for forging meaning and shaping reality. “Media are the most powerful institutions on earth,” Amy Goodman of Democracy Now claims, “more powerful than any bomb, more powerful than any missile” (p. 199).
This series of interviews and articles explores how incumbent powers and media activists compete to produce and reproduce their versions of reality through the media. The contributors use the format to discuss the tenuous relationship between media and democracy and the changing role of the news media, as well as to present examples of tactical media. The resulting collection provides an excellent introduction to the current, troubling media landscape and its tactical opportunities.
McKelvey, F. R. (2010). Digital media and democracy: Tactics in hard times [Review of the book Digital media and democracy: tactics in hard times by M. Boler]. Canadian Journal of Communication, 35(2).