Mightier Than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History

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Westview Press, 1997 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 287 pages
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In this pathbreaking book, Rodger Streitmatter takes the reader on a sightseeing tour of American history as influenced by the public press, visiting fourteen landmark events in U.S. history, from the abolitionist movement and the struggle for women's rights to the civil rights movement and Watergate. These are events that stir the political imagination; but, as Streitmatter shows, they also demonstrate how American journalism, since the 1760s, has not merely recorded this nation's history but has played a role in shaping it.This book is the first of its kind. Streitmatter avoids the mind-numbing lists of names, dates, and newspaper headlines that bog down the standard journalism history textbook. Instead, Mightier than the Sword focuses on a limited number of episodes, identifying common characteristics within the news media. In his final essay, Streitmatter looks at how the news media have shaped our understanding of events; by drawing examples from various episodes, this synthesis chapter identifies some of the common characteristics that the news media involved in shaping this nation have displayed.

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Review: Mightier Than The Sword: How The News Media Have Shaped American History

User Review  - Olga - Goodreads

This is such a crucial read for anyone who wants to understand American society, politics and journalism today. I had to read it for a journalism class I took and I am so grateful. This book not only ... Read full review

Review: Mightier Than The Sword: How The News Media Have Shaped American History

User Review  - Michael Van gorp - Goodreads

Great depiction of how the media has shaped the way our country works. Read full review


Sowing the Seeds of Revolution
Abolition Turning Americas Conscience Against the Sins of Slavery
Slowing the Momentum for Womens Rights
Attacking Municipal Corruption The Tweed Ring
Journalism as Warmonger The SpanishAmerican War
Muckraking The Golden Age of Reform Journalism
Defying the Ku Klux Klan
Pushing the Civil Rights Movement onto the National Agenda
Vietnam War Bringing the Battlefield into the American Living Room
Watergate Forces the President to His Knees
Rush Limbaugh Leading the Republican Revolution
How the News Media Have Shaped History Focusing on the How
About the Book and Author

Father Coughlin Fomenting AntiSemitism via the Radio
Creating Rosie the Riveter Propelling the American Woman into the Workforce
Exposing Joe McCarthy Televisions Finest Hour

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Page 18 - THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Page 16 - O! ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose not only the tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the Globe. Asia and Africa have long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. 0! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.
Page 33 - Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
Page 28 - I am in earnest. I will not equivocate I will not excuse I will not retreat a single inch. AND I WILL BE HEARD.
Page 181 - I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Page 41 - The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.
Page 28 - I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation.
Page 198 - To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion.
Page 95 - ... when they were fished out, there was never enough of them left to be worth exhibiting sometimes they would be overlooked for days, till all but the bones of them had gone out to the world as Durham's Pure Leaf Lard!
Page 20 - Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but " show your faith by your works,

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About the author (1997)

Rodger Streitmatter teaches at the School of Communication at the American University in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Raising Her Voice: African-American Women Journalists Who Changed History and Unspeakable: The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Press in America.

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