Robert MacNeil Breaking News (Harvest Book)

ISBN 13: 9780156007634

Breaking News (Harvest Book)

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9780156007634: Breaking News (Harvest Book)

Anchorman Grant Munro is at the pinnacle of a brilliant career. Covering every story from the Kennedy assassination to the Clinton sex scandals, Munro has won the admiration and trust of millions of television viewers. About to turn sixty, Munro suddenly feels threatened when a handsome and much younger colleague with little experience vies for his anchor post. Dragged into a media circus where tabloid values are fast becoming staples of the nightly news, Munro must negotiate a minefield of scheming, betrayal, and greed to hold on to the job and values he prizes. Bestselling author Robert MacNeil, whose two previous novels have been published to great acclaim, here turns his wit and acuity onto his home turf in an up-to-the-minute take on an industry that affects the lives of all Americans.

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Review:

When he looks in the mirror, Grant Munro is no longer sure what he sees. Is he gazing upon a celebrated journalist and anchor man or an aging icon who should step aside and let the younger generation take over? This question is at the heart of Breaking News, in which PBS poster boy Robert MacNeil leads us on an entertaining romp through the messy, greed-driven, back-stabbing world of TV news. Our hero, in fact, questions the very use of the word news to describe cheap entertainment, warm sops for increasingly limited attention spans, filler between commercials. Soon, however, Grant finds himself on the defensive, riddled with self-doubt and fighting for his life (not to mention his $5 million-plus salary).

While much of what MacNeil has to say about the state of TV news is itself hardly news, he does provide an intriguing set of characters and a rich layer of sleazy detail. He also offers a wired version of the Greek chorus in the person of Hollygo Lightly, a self-described "First Electronic Black Drag Queen Gossip Columnist." And when Hollygo fingers Grant's potential replacement as an aggressive blonde bombshell with not a jot of journalistic integrity, the novel shifts into narrative high gear. Also on hand are a dim blackmailer, a smarter private detective, and some rather too revealing snapshots of the aforementioned blonde. Will the pics see the light of day and sink a career or two? Will Grant give in to pressure to have a face lift and turn his news program into a circus? And will TV news ever be the same? All we can say is, tune in. --Marianne Painter

From the Publisher:

"A provocative cri de couer at...our national news media wrapped neatly in a shiny literary package. Jim Lehrer's loss is fiction's gain."
--Eric Alterman, New York Times Book Review

"MacNeil calls it a novel but here, in delightfully readable style, may be the best explanation yet of that which ails television news."
--Walter Cronkite

"MacNeil has written a page-turning novel that gripped me and never let go until I reached the last page. On one level, it explores the collision between commerical and news values. On a deeper level, it is a rich human drama."
--Ken Auletta

"Breaking News is a fly on the wall of every network newsroom. Journalistic integrity battles the bottom line and guess who wins? It's also a study of the seduction of the not-so-innocent, with all the attendant absurdities."
--Morley Safer

"This is a reporter's notebook, a fly-on-the-wall account of what really goes on behind the facade of the television news business. And you'll recognize a lot of today's news heavy-hitters in the 'fictional' cast of characters Robert MacNeil has so entertainingly assembled."
--Mike Wallace

>"A devastating portrait of American TV news."
--Max Frankel

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