The Press On Trial

Overview

Perhaps no drama catches the interest of the American public more than a spectacular trial. Even though the reporting of a crime may quickly diminish in news value, the trial lingers while drama builds. Although this has become seemingly more pronounced in recent years with the popularity of televised trials, public interest in criminal trials was just as high in 1735 when John Peter Zenger defended his right to free speech, or in 1893 when Lizzie Borden was tried for the murder of her father and stepmother. This...

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Overview

Perhaps no drama catches the interest of the American public more than a spectacular trial. Even though the reporting of a crime may quickly diminish in news value, the trial lingers while drama builds. Although this has become seemingly more pronounced in recent years with the popularity of televised trials, public interest in criminal trials was just as high in 1735 when John Peter Zenger defended his right to free speech, or in 1893 when Lizzie Borden was tried for the murder of her father and stepmother. This book tells the stories of sixteen significant trials in American history and their media coverage, from the Zenger trial in 1735 to the O. J. Simpson trial in 1995. Each chapter relates the history of events leading up to the trial, the people involved, and how the crimes and subsequent trials were reported.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Each of 16 essays describes a trial in American history, the events leading up to it, the people involved, and how the crime and subsequent trial were reported. They do not consider the effects of media coverage or freedom-of-the-press issues. The cases begin with that of John Peter Zenger in 1735 and include the Boston Massacre, John Brown, the Haymarket Massacre, John Scopes, Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs, the Chicago Seven, Charles Manson, William Calley, and of course O. J. Simpson. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

LLOYD CHIASSON JR. is Professor of Mass Communications at Nicholls State University.

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Table of Contents

Preface: The Opening Statement
Acknowledgments
1 The Case of John Peter Zenger (1735) "A Monkey ... about 4 foot high" 1
2 The Case of the Boston Massacre (1770) "A ... melancholy Demonstration" 15
3 The Case of John Brown (1859) "John Brown still lives" 25
4 The Case of the Haymarket Riot (1886) "This is the happiest moment in my life!" 37
5 The Case of Lizzie Borden (1893) "Elizabeth Borden took an ax" 49
6 The Case of Harry K. Thaw (1907) "You have ruined my wife!" 63
7 The Case of the Chicago Black Sox (1921) "Say it ain't so, Joe" 75
8 The Case of John Scopes (1925) "In the beginning ..." 85
9 The Case of the Scottsboro Boys (1931) "Bigots whose mouths are slits in their faces" 103
10 The Case of Bruno Hauptmann (1935) "The greatest story since the Resurrection" 117
11 The Cases of Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs (1949, 1951) "I said, would you open your mouth ..." 131
12 The Case of the Chicago Seven (1969) "The pigs are coming, the pigs are coming" 147
13 The Case of Charles Manson (1970) "Plump, white rabbits" 159
14 The Case of Lieutenant William Calley (1970) "We were all kind of crazed" 173
15 The Case of O. J. Simpson (1995) "No closer to Greek tragedy than Oedipus Hertz" 189
16 The Verdict 203
Selected Bibliography 209
Index 217
About the Editor and the Contributors 225
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