Media Circus: The Trouble with America's Newspapers

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Times Books, 1994 - American newspapers - 434 pages
Journalists may have been considered heroes in the days of Watergate, bringing down a president and upholding our country's ideals of truth and justice, but today reporters are seen as a petulant, sleazy, and haughty bunch. Politicians of all stripes routinely bash the media, and the public has endorsed limits on the press that would have been unthinkable a generation ago. One of the handful of reporters who gets any respect these days is Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post. Kurtz's beat is the press itself, and he never lacks for material. Covering one's peers is a perilous task, but Kurtz is universally acknowledged as a scrupulous reporter, as well as a dogged investigator and lucid writer who can get the bottom of any story - especially the story behind the story. His articles are considered required reading in political circles, especially because he is not afraid to take his own paper to task for its misjudgments. There are no sacred cows in Kurtz's world; in fact, the standing joke in the Post newsroom is that people get nervous when they see him approaching, pen and pad in hand. In Media Circus, Kurtz ventures into America's newsrooms and press galleries to show how newspapers have bungled so many of the important stories of recent years. What he sees is not pretty: editors missing the HUD and S&L scandals while showcasing media manipulators like Donald Trump and Al Sharpton; reporters seduced by power at the White House and during the Gulf war; newspaper coverage of William Kennedy Smith and Clarence Thomas sinking into the gutter; the press continuing to shoot itself in the foot, repeatedly sidetracked by trivia and sleaze during the 1992 presidential campaign. Kurtz pulls nopunches in reporting how the press has sacrificed its credibility while failing to stem the tide of newspaper closings, and how racial tensions and ethical lapses have become staples of the new newsroom culture. Laying bare the yawning gaps in the information we receive from our

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MEDIA CIRCUS: The Trouble with America's Newspapers

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A gossipy, ad rem diagnosis of what ails US newspapers. Washington Post Media-reporter Kurtz concludes that broadsheets as well as tabloids have been losing credibility because they tend to focus on ... Read full review


Introduction to the Paperback Edition
The Decade
The Agency Nobody Covered

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About the author (1994)

Howard Kurtz is the media reporter for The Washington Post, where he has worked since 1981. A former New York bureau chief, he is a frequent guest on Charlie Rose, Good Morning America, and CNN's Reliable Sources. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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