Not a Conspiracy Theory: Book Review

Source: October 2009

Think your vote counts on issues that matter most to you? Like global warming or health care? Well, think again.

In Not a Conspiracy Theory, Donald Gutstein skilfully documents one of the most important but least recognized political developments in the last thirty years: the prolonged propaganda campaigns mounted by business to influence our opinions on fundamental issues of social and political life. Think tanks with impressive names and populist-sounding agendas--staffed with credentialed researchers with well-honed reputations--churn out research that purports to be both independent and free of bias. But peel back the curtain and what do you find? Big business with its big bucks and anti-democratic agenda: maximizing and maintaining profits no matter what. Independent and free of bias? Not even close.

Gutstein explores the roots of corporate propaganda in the United States and traces its rise and influence across Canada. He documents how corporate propaganda works, who funds it and how it is marketed to the mainstream media ... usually without you ever knowing. For anyone who worries that the propaganda machine has hijacked the democratic process, Not a Conspiracy Theory is a must read.

Donald Gutstein taught in the school of communication at Simon Fraser University and is the author of three acclaimed but controversial books: e.con: How the Internet Undermines Democracy, The New Landlords and Vancouver Ltd. He has studied the media for more than thirty years, was co-director of Projected Censored and NewsWatch Canada and has written articles for print and online magazines such as Maclean's, Vancouver Magazine, The Tyee, Georgia Straight and Straight Goods.

Not a Conspiracy Theory is published by Key Porter books and is $22.95 in bookstores now.

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