Mightier than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History / Edition 3

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Overview


In this path-breaking book, Rodger Streitmatter takes readers on a sightseeing tour of American history as influenced by the public press, visiting sixteen landmark events in US history, from the American Revolution and the civil rights movement to Watergate and 9/11. 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, he focuses on a limited number of episodes, identifying common characteristics within the news media. The third edition includes an entirely new chapter on social media and the election of Barack Obama. This edition also looks beyond traditional journalistic outlets such as newspapers and television news reports to examine the modern-day role that the Internet and its various venues play in reporting the news and shaping history.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for the Third Edition of Rodger Streitmatter’s Mightier than the Sword

“When it comes to looking American journalism square in the eye and asking exactly the right questions, no book offers a fresher perspective and does it better than Mightier Than the Sword. Just for his examination alone of the media's failure over the years to support women's suffrage, or for questioning what is ethical in the pursuit of a cause as important as independence, Rodger Streitmatter deserves high grades for making his readers critically rethink their preconceived notions.”
Steve Klein, coordinator of the Journalism program at George Mason University

"Streitmatter's book is an excellent auxiliary text for an introductory mass media class. It provides students with a real sense of the role the media have played in the development of American society and how they were used as agents of social change. It also provides a context for the role the media play today."
Dave Cassady, Pacific University

“Rodger Streitmatter’s Mightier than the Sword is a welcome addition to my course in the history of American mass media. His writing style is accessible and enjoyable for students, and his focus on important historical moments makes it easy for me to make good use of the text no matter how I organize my class. Students like this book because it’s fun to read, and I like it because it asks them to think critically about something important—the role of journalism in shaping American history.”
Janice Hume, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia

“Many students tell me in their course evaluations that Mightier Than the Sword is one of their favorite textbooks ever. It's so interestingly written that some of them don't even wait until the end of the semester to tell me how inspiring it is and that it's one textbook they plan to keep. This has been the case since I started using it back with the first edition. Pretty good for a book on history, a subject many students don't expect to enjoy. Doubly good that the book has always been more affordably priced than most texts students are asked to buy.”
James Pinson, Eastern Michigan University

Praise for Previous Editions:

“In this engagingly written collection of case studies, Rodger Streitmatter demonstrates that journalism history is much more than a static gallery of the usual portraits…Overall, the second edition of Mightier than the Sword is well worth acquiring, as it offers substantial new content and updates. As in the first edition, Streitmatter writes gracefully and concisely, in a style sure to command students’ interest. He embeds considerable scholarship in each chapter, so that readers wishing more can easily see where next to go…This book will continue to be useful not only in the standard journalism history course but in myriad others from media and society to media criticism to reporting.”
Journalism History (Nancy L. Roberts, SUNY-Albany)

“In succinct, engrossing prose, Streitmatter shows how courageous, effective communicators have accepted their own and their media’s limitations to shape the outcome of events from abolitionism to anti-Semitism, women’s rights to civil rights, the Ku Klux Klan to Vietnam.”
Booklist

“An easy-to-digest …overview of the media’s influence on American history and politics…A fine introductory textbook for a journalism class.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A novel approach to journalism history, presenting key episodes in an engaging style bound to appeal to students and the general public alike. Streitmatter’s lucid prose draws on study of both primary and secondary source material to provide a provocative synthesis and serves as a basis for thoughtful examination of the role of the news media in American society.”
Maurine H. Beasley, University of Maryland at College Park

“Streitmatter’s book is a welcome addition to the growing canon of journalism history. His case studies of significant issues in American history from the American Revolution of Tom Paine and Sam Adams to the New Right of Rush Limbaugh clearly demonstrate how closely the news media is entwined with the life of the nation. This text is a must-read not only for journalism historians but for anyone interested in the ideas and forces that have shaped the nation.”
Elizabeth V. Burt, American Journalism Historians Association; University of Hartford

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813346304
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 12/27/2011
  • Edition description: Third Edition, Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 545,506
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Rodger Streitmatter is professor of journalism at American University. A journalist and historian, he is the author of several books and has contributed to numerous popular and scholarly periodicals, including The Washington Post, The Advocate, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, and American Journalism.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

1 Sowing the Seeds of Revolution 1

2 Abolition Turning Americas Conscience Against the Sins of Slavery 17

3 Slowing the Momentum for Women's Rights 32

4 Attacking Municipal Corruption The Tweed Ring 47

5 Journalism as Warmonger The Spanish-American War 63

6 Muckraking The Golden Age of Reform Journalism 80

7 Defying the Ku Klux Klan 94

8 Father Coughlin Fomenting Anti-Semitism via the Radio 110

9 Creating "Rosie the Riveter" Propelling the American Woman into the Workforce 124

10 Exposing Joe McCarthy Television's Finest Hour 139

11 Pushing the Civil Rights Movement onto the National Agenda 155

12 Vietnam War Bringing the Battlefield into the American Living Room 171

13 Watergate Forces the President to His Knees 188

14 Rush Limbaugh Leading the Republican Revolution 202

15 9/11 Failing the American Public 216

16 Electing an African-American President A Case Study in News Media Bias 232

17 How the News Media Have Shaped American History Focusing on the How 246

Notes 257

Bibliography 291

About the Book and Author 297

Index 299

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