Politics and the American Press: The Rise of Objectivity, 1865-1920 / Edition 1

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"Politics and the American Press takes a fresh look at the origins of modern journalism's ideals and political practices. In particular, Richard Kaplan addresses the professional ethic of political independence and objectivity widely adopted by the US press. He shows how this philosophy emerged from a strikingly different ethic of avid formal partisanship in the early twentieth century." The book also provides fresh insights into the economics of journalism and uses business papers and personal letters of publishers to explore the influence of competition, advertising, and an explosion in readership on the market strategies of the press. Kaplan documents the changes in political content of the press by a systematic content analysis of newspaper news and editorials over a span of 55 years. The book concludes by exploring the question of what should be the appropriate political role and professional ethics of journalists in a modern democracy.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Politics and the American Press is one of the most thought-provoking works on partisan journalism to appear in recent decades...Kaplan's critique of the press in the 19th and early 20th centuries is impressive and often persuasive because he is so well grounded in the context of the period." - Political Communication, Gerald J. Baldasty Political Communication

"This is the best account of the politics and the economics of the American press in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Kaplan criticizes leading views on the subject (including my own) and surpasses them in a historically well grounded and sociologically insightful analysis." Michael Schudson, Professor of Communication and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego

"Though the title of this excelent books suggests otherwise, Kaplan offers a case study of Detroit newspapers, 1865-1920... The research is thorough—content analysis of 10,000 news stories over a period of 55 years—and the analyses and writing are sound... Upper-division undergraduates and above." Choice

"Richard L. Kaplan...has made an important contribution to understanding the relationship between American political parties and the press during the crucial decades between the Civil War and World War I...Kaplan's conclusions are compelling...[it] is an important monograph that will have to be considered by anyone interested in the period." History

"[Kaplan] challenged the views of many earlier authors in a very thoughtful and persuasive way." Political Communication

"What begins as a perfectly straightforward, and exceedingly well-done, analysis of the political history of the press and parties in the Gilded and Progressive eras ends as a polemic for public journalism...the early chapters of the book do provide an excellent examination of the partisan press system after the Civil War. Further, this work may have considerable relevance for those of us living in America today." -Debra R. Van Tuyll, Augusta State University, H-NET

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521006026
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 234
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Kaplan is Lecturer in the Sociology Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His work on media history has received the Catherine Covert Prize for best published article in Mass Communications History (1996). He has published in Journalism History; Media, Culture, and Society; and American Journalism.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Partisan news in the early Reconstruction Era: African-Americans in the vortex of political publicity 22
2 Economic engines of partisanship 55
3 Rituals of partisanship: American journalism in the Gilded Age 72
4 The two revolutions in urban newspaper economics, 1873 and 1888 104
5 1896 and the political revolution in Detroit journalism 140
Conclusion 184
Methodological appendix 200
References 204
Index 221
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