Freedom of the press is a primary American value. Good journalism builds communities, arms citizens with important information, and serves as a public watchdog for civic, national, and global issues. But what happens when the news turns its back on its public role?
Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Washington Post , and Robert G. Kaiser, associate editor and senior correspondent, report on a growing crisis in American journalism. From the corporatization that leads media moguls to slash content for profit, to newsrooms that ignore global crises to report on personal entertainment, these veteran journalists chronicle an erosion of independent, relevant journalism. In the process, they make clear why incorruptible reporting is crucial to American society. Rooted in interviews and first-hand accounts, the authors take us inside the politically charged world of one of America’s powerful institutions, the media.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The News About the News|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
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|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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The News About the News
The story is a legend now, but it really did happen. Early in the morning of June 17, 1972, inside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington's Watergate office building, police arrested five men wearing business suits and rubber surgical gloves and carrying cameras and sophisticated bugging devices. The Washington Post assigned a longhaired newsroom roustabout named Carl Bernstein and one of the paper's newest reporters, Bob Woodward, to report the story. Over the next two years they unraveled a tangled conspiracy of political spying and dirty tricks, wiretaps, break-ins, secret funds and a criminal cover-up–all orchestrated by President Richard Nixon's White House.
For a long time the Post was the only news organization to take Watergate seriously. The Washington establishment brushed the story off, and Nixon's allies put pressure on the Post to drop it. But after months of Woodward and Bernstein's revelatory stories, government investigators and then the Congress joined the pursuit. Impeachment proceedings began, and on August 9, 1974, Nixon became the first president of the United States ever to resign his office. Watergate became an example for the ages, a classic case when journalism made a difference.
Good journalism does not often topple a president, but it frequently changes the lives of citizens, both grand and ordinary.
When Robert Hopkins telephoned Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy, he was sixty-five years old, a diabetic on kidney dialysis three times a week and the desperate father of three young children, ages four, five and six. Their mother had abandoned the f...