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Monday, January 24, 2011

About Norman Solomon

Author  •  Educator  •  Policy Advocate

  • Author of a dozen books on media, political discourse and public policy, including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death," adopted as required reading in many college courses  
  • Former co-chair of the Commission on a Green New Deal for the North Bay  
  • Co-founder,  
  • Former co-chair of the Healthcare Not Warfare national campaign and former member of the national advisory board for Progressive Democrats of America
  • Taught seminars and classes at numerous colleges, including Sonoma State University, Dominican University and the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco
  • Elected as an Obama delegate from Sonoma and Marin counties to the 2008 Democratic National Convention
  • Served three terms, from 2007 to 2013, as an elected delegate from the North Bay to the California Democratic Party’s state central committee
  • Co-founder of the media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
  • Educator on media, politics, foreign policy and public affairs
  • Received the first Alex Forman Peace Award from the Marin County Democratic Party
  • Organized and went on three missions to Baghdad prior to the invasion of Iraq -- including one led by Congressman Nick Rahall and former U.S. Senator James Abourezk -- seeking alternatives to war
  • One of the lone voices on national television against invading Iraq before the start of the Iraq war in early 2003, appearing on CNN and other major TV networks more than a dozen times to argue for diplomacy instead of a U.S. attack
  • Organized and went on fact-finding trip to Afghanistan in 2009
  • The New York Times Magazine has called him “a leading progressive activist.” The Los Angeles Times has called him “a formidable thinker and activist.”
  • Recipient of numerous awards including the George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language, and the Annual Ruben Salazar Journalism Award
  • Founder and 13-year executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, overseeing policy research and liaison with thousands of experts on global warming, foreign policy, labor rights, “welfare reform,” economic equity, lax enforcement of federal regulations, civil liberties and a wide range of other topics related to federal, state and local government policies nationwide

Norman Solomon’s book “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death” was published in 2005. The Los Angeles Times called the book “brutally persuasive” and “a must-read for those who would like greater context with their bitter morning coffee, or to arm themselves for the debates about Iraq that are still to come.” The Humanist magazine described the book as “a definitive historical text” and “an indispensable record of the real relationships among government authorities and media outlets.”

A full-length film documentary (narrated by Sean Penn) based on the “War Made Easy” book was released in 2007.

Solomon's book “Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You” (co-authored with foreign correspondent Reese Erlich) was published in 2003 by Context Books before the Iraq invasion. “Target Iraq” has also been published in German, Italian, Hungarian, Brazilian and South Korean editions.

In the introduction to the 1999 book “The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media,” Jonathan Kozol wrote: “The tradition of Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, and I.F. Stone does not get much attention these days in the mainstream press ... but that tradition is alive and well in this collection of courageously irreverent columns on the media by Norman Solomon. ... He fights the good fight without fear of consequence. He courts no favors. He writes responsibly and is meticulous on details, but he does not choke on false civility.”

One of Solomon’s other books is the 1982 classic (co-authored with Harvey Wasserman) “Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience With Atomic Radiation.”

Solomon has appeared as a guest on many TV outlets including the PBS “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer,” CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” “Democracy Now” and KQED Television’s “This Week in Northern California.” His op-ed articles have appeared in a range of newspapers including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, New York Times, Boston Globe, Miami Herald, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun. His articles have also appeared overseas in many outlets including the International Herald Tribune.

A tenacious critic of media bias, Solomon wrote the weekly syndicated column “Media Beat” from 1992 to 2009.

Solomon co-authored “Unreliable Sources: A Guide to Detecting Bias in News Media,” published in 1990. A review in the Washington Post concluded that the book “makes a worthy addition to the library of any student of American news media, social structure and political science.” Kirkus Reviews said that the book provides “an extensive record of recent media distortions.” Publishers Weekly said that Solomon and co-author Martin A. Lee “make a compelling case for the contention that newsmen and women distort current events.” The San Francisco Chronicle reviewer wrote: “Their command of information is matched by committed, eloquent writing that plumbs the psychological and political complexities of mass-mediated experience.” Utne Reader called the book “an essential text.” USA Today columnist Barbara Reynolds described it as “a thinking person’s book.”