When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina (Google eBook)

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University of Chicago Press, Sep 15, 2008 - Political Science - 278 pages
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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 administration’s 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 media’s 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—a rare event that caught officials off guard, enabling journalists to enter a no-spin zone—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.”—George Pendle, Financial Times
 
“Bennett, Lawrence, and Livingston are indisputably right about the news media’s dereliction in covering the administration’s campaign to take the nation to war against Iraq.”—Don Wycliff, Chicago Tribune “[This] analysis of the weaknesses of Washington journalism deserves close attention.”—Russell Baker, New York Review of Books
  

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User Review  - abuannie - LibraryThing

Critical, important examination of how the journalistic tradition of objectivity became confused (if not synonymous), in recent decades, with deference to authority and power. "The confusion about ... Read full review

Contents

The Press and Power
1
The Case of the Iraq War
13
A Theory News and Democracy
46
Abu Ghraib and the Inner Workings of Press Dependence
72
Why It Matters When the Press Fails
108
Spin Status and Intimidation in the Washington Political Culture
131
A Standard for Public Accountability
165
Evidence Suggesting a Connection between Abu Ghraib and US Torture Policy
199
Methods for Analyzing the News Framing of Abu Ghraib
205
Further Findings from the Content Analysis
210
Interview Protocol
212
Notes
215
References
235
Index
251
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

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.

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