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All the News Unfit to Print: How Things Were... and How They Were Reported

Overview

You really can't believe everything you read . . .

A premature newswire report announces the end of World War I, spurring wild celebrations in American streets days before the actual treaty was signed. A St. Louis newspaper prints reviews of theatrical performances that never took place—they had been canceled due to bad weather. New York newspaper reporters plant evidence in the apartment of the man accused of kidnapping the Lindbergh baby and ...

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Overview

You really can't believe everything you read . . .

A premature newswire report announces the end of World War I, spurring wild celebrations in American streets days before the actual treaty was signed. A St. Louis newspaper prints reviews of theatrical performances that never took place—they had been canceled due to bad weather. New York newspaper reporters plant evidence in the apartment of the man accused of kidnapping the Lindbergh baby and then call him a liar in the courtroom once the trial begins.

These are just a few of the many wrongs that have been reported as right over two centuries of American history. All the News Unfit to Print puts the media under the microscope to expose the many types of mistakes, hoaxes, omissions, and lies that have skewed our understanding of the past, and reveals the range of reasons and motivations—from boredom and haste to politics and greed-behind them. Reviewing a host of journalistic slip-ups involving Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, William Randolph Hearst, Theodore H. White, and many others, this book covers the stories behind the stories to refine incorrect "first drafts" of history from the Revolutionary War era to more recent times.

"All the News Unfit to Print is a rollicking joyride that careens through the ridiculous, the odd, and the serious malfeasances in American journalistic history and reminds us of the difference between news and facts."
Neal Gabler, author of Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470405239
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 4/27/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Burns
Eric Burns is the former host of Fox News's acclaimed Fox News Watch and a veteran of NBC Nightly News and Today. Burns has written on matters of media and popular culture for such magazines as Reader's Digest, the Weekly Standard, Spy, TV Guide, and Family Circle, in addition to such newspapers as the New York Post and the Los Angeles Times, as well as the Huffington Post. His social histories The Spirits of America: A Social History of Alcohol and The Smoke of the Gods: A Social History of Tobacco each won the highest award given in its category by the American Library Association.
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Table of Contents

Part One: Telling Lies.

1. How Journalists Got the Idea.

2. Journalism from Afar.

3. A Woman Who Never Was.

4. Lies against the British.

5. Lies against Americans.

6. The Boss.

7. The Epoch of the Hoax.

8. Furnishing a War.

9. L’Affaire.

10. Speeding Up a War.

Part Two Hiding the Truth.

11. Their Man in Moscow.

12. Sins of Omission.

13. The Same Team.

14. Rejecting the Faith.

15. Janet’s World.

16. What a Picture Is Worth.

17. The Most Hated Man in American Newsrooms.

18. What Haste Makes.

Epilogue: A Few Final Mistakes.

A Note to Readers.

Acknowledgments.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Index.

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