Synopses & Reviews
Freeing the Presses offers a path-breaking inquiry into the theory and practice of freedom of the press at a critical time in the growing overlap between modern media and political discussion. Six political communication scholars draw upon history, sociology, political science, legal philosophy, and journalism to investigate whether the freedoms and privileges given to the news media and to reporters actually produce the results we expect. Their discussion covers past, present, and future media performance and engages a wide range of provocative questions: What understanding did the founders of the Constitution have of the press? Does the legal protection given to the press actually produce more free-wheeling news? Just how independent are the news media from political and other power centers? Must we accept a scurrilous, "unlovable" press if we are to have such independence? How will freedom of the press be changed by the new heady mix of mass-, middle-, and micromedia, and of citizen news-producers? Answers to these questions receive added perspective in an introductory essay by Timothy E. Cook and commentaries by four First Amendment experts. A book that will be welcomed by scholars, students, and anyone who relies on the freedom of the press in practice, Freeing the Presses addresses the important question of how best to pursue a media system that fulfills the demands of a democratic polity.