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When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina (Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion)

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When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina (Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

< div> < div> During the gravest moments of George W. Bush& #8217; s tenure& #8212; the response to 9/11, the buildup to war with Iraq, the Abu Ghraib scandal& #8212; the media largely reported reality as his administration scripted it. Why, in these times when we most need a critical, independent press, does this essential pillar of democracy fail us? A sobering look at the intimate relationship between political power and the news media, < i> When the Press Fails< /i> argues that reporters& #8217; dependence on official sources disastrously thwarts coverage of dissenting voices from outside the beltway.< br> < /div> < div> & nbsp; < /div> < div> The result is both an indictment of official spin and an urgent call to action that begins by questioning why the mainstream press neglected to cover considerable evidence against the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Drawing on hard-hitting interviews with journalists and analysis of content from major news outlets, the authors show that such catastrophic blind spots, particularly during the Abu Ghraib controversy, have stemmed from a lack of high-level sources within government willing to question the administration publicly. Contrasting these grave failures with the refreshingly critical reporting on Hurricane Katrina& #8212; a rare event that caught officials off guard, enabling journalists to enter a no-spin zone& #8212; < i> When the Press Fails< /i> concludes by proposing new practices to reduce reporters& #8217; dependence on power.< br> & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; < /div> < div> The authors ultimately contend that if ordinary Americans& nbsp; start to hear alternative perspectives aired in the legitimizing arena of the mainstream press, they just might begin to act as a public& #8212; no longer suffering with private shock and awe as world-changing events unfold before their eyes. < /div> < /div>

Synopsis:

A sobering look at the intimate relationship between political power and the news media, When the Press Fails argues the dependence of reporters on official sources disastrously thwarts coverage of dissenting voices from outside the Beltway.
 
The result is both an indictment of official spin and an urgent call to action that questions why the mainstream press failed to challenge the Bush administrations arguments for an invasion of Iraq or to illuminate administration policies underlying the Abu Ghraib controversy. Drawing on revealing interviews with Washington insiders and analysis of content from major news outlets, the authors illustrate the medias unilateral surrender to White House spin whenever oppositional voices elsewhere in government fall silent.  Contrasting these grave failures with the refreshingly critical reporting on Hurricane Katrina&#8212;a rare event that caught officials off guard, enabling journalists to enter a no-spin zone&#8212;When the Press Fails concludes by proposing new practices to reduce reporters dependence on power.

 

“The hand-in-glove relationship of the U.S. media with the White House is mercilessly exposed in this determined and disheartening study that repeatedly reveals how the press has toed the official line at those moments when its independence was most needed.”&#8212;George Pendle, Financial Times

 

“Bennett, Lawrence, and Livingston are indisputably right about the news medias dereliction in covering the administrations campaign to take the nation to war against Iraq.”&#8212;Don Wycliff, Chicago Tribune

 
“[This] analysis of the weaknesses of Washington journalism deserves close attention.”&#8212;Russell Baker, New York Review of Books

About the Author

W. Lance Bennett is professor of political science and the Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication at the University of Washington. Regina G. Lawrence is the Kevin P. Reilly Sr. Chair of Political Communication in the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. Steven Livingston is professor of media and international affairs in the School of Media and Public Affairs and the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
INTRODUCTION

The Press and Power

1

PRESS POLITICS IN AMERICA

The Case of the Iraq War

2

THE SEMI-INDEPENDENT PRESS

A Theory of News and Democracy

3

NONE DARE CALL IT TORTURE

Abu Ghraib and the Inner Workings of Press Dependence

4

THE NEWS REALITY FILTER

Why It Matters When the Press Fails

5

MANAGING THE NEWS

Spin, Status, and Intimidation in the Washington Political Culture

6

TOWARD AN INDEPENDENT PRESS

A Standard for Public Accountability

APPENDIX A

Evidence Suggesting a Connection

between Abu Ghraib and U.S. Torture Policy

APPENDIX B

Methods for Analyzing the News Framing of Abu Ghraib

APPENDIX C

Further Findings from the Content Analysis

APPENDIX D

Interview Protocol

Notes
References
Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226042848
Author:
Bennett, W Lance
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Author:
Bennett, W. Lance
Author:
Livingston, Ste
Author:
Lawrence, Regina G.
Author:
Livingston, Steven
Author:
Ven
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Journalism
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - General
Subject:
General Political Science
Subject:
Government - U.S. Government
Subject:
Media Studies
Subject:
Press and politics -- United States.
Subject:
Government and the press -- United States.
Subject:
Sociology-Media
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion
Publication Date:
20070531
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
3 line drawings, 5 tables
Pages:
280
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Business » Communication
Business » General
History and Social Science » Journalism » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Media
History and Social Science » World History » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina (Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion) Used Hardcover
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Product details 280 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226042848 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
A sobering look at the intimate relationship between political power and the news media, When the Press Fails argues the dependence of reporters on official sources disastrously thwarts coverage of dissenting voices from outside the Beltway.
 
The result is both an indictment of official spin and an urgent call to action that questions why the mainstream press failed to challenge the Bush administrations arguments for an invasion of Iraq or to illuminate administration policies underlying the Abu Ghraib controversy. Drawing on revealing interviews with Washington insiders and analysis of content from major news outlets, the authors illustrate the medias unilateral surrender to White House spin whenever oppositional voices elsewhere in government fall silent.  Contrasting these grave failures with the refreshingly critical reporting on Hurricane Katrina&#8212;a rare event that caught officials off guard, enabling journalists to enter a no-spin zone&#8212;When the Press Fails concludes by proposing new practices to reduce reporters dependence on power.

 

“The hand-in-glove relationship of the U.S. media with the White House is mercilessly exposed in this determined and disheartening study that repeatedly reveals how the press has toed the official line at those moments when its independence was most needed.”&#8212;George Pendle, Financial Times

 

“Bennett, Lawrence, and Livingston are indisputably right about the news medias dereliction in covering the administrations campaign to take the nation to war against Iraq.”&#8212;Don Wycliff, Chicago Tribune

 
“[This] analysis of the weaknesses of Washington journalism deserves close attention.”&#8212;Russell Baker, New York Review of Books

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