The Press Gang: Newspapers and Politics, 1865-1878 / Edition 1

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Overview

Relations between the press and politicians in modern America have always been contentious. In The Press Gang, Mark Summers tells the story of the first skirmishes in this ongoing battle. Following the Civil War, independent newspapers began to separate themselves from partisan control and assert direct political influence. The first investigative journalists uncovered genuine scandals such as those involving the Tweed Ring, but their standard practices were often sensational, as editors and reporters made their reputations by destroying political figures, not by carefully uncovering the facts. Objectivity as a professional standard scarcely existed. Considering more than ninety different papers, Summers analyzes not only what the press wrote but also what they chose not to write, and he details both how they got the stories and what mistakes they made in reporting them. He exposes the peculiarly ambivalent relationship of dependence and distaste among reporters and politicians. In exploring the shifting ground between writing the stories and making the news, Summers offers an important contribution to the history of journalism and mid-nineteenth-century politics and uncovers a story that has come to dominate our understanding of government and the media.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
By far the best book yet produced on the 19th-century press.

Virginia Quarterly Review

Mark Summers's work commands that we never think of nineteenth-century newspaper sources in quite the same way again.

Journal of Southern History

This extremely readable account . . . strengthens the belief that history does not repeat itself.

Illinois Historical Journal

The Press Gang is a fresh narrative of party strife of the Gilded Age. . . . Persuasive and wonderfully readable.

Reviews in American History

Exceptionally well written. The narrative is fast-paced and absorbing.

Journal of American History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807844465
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 6/24/1994
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 0.93 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Wahlgren Summers, professor of history at the University of Kentucky, is author of many books, including The Era of Good Stealings.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Reporters' Initials and Pseudonyms
Introduction
1 The Lords of the Linotype
2 All the News That Fits
3 News Management Made Easy
4 News in Need of Reconstruction
5 The Breakup of the Press Gang, 1872-1877
Epilogue. Final Edition
Notes
Bibliography: Newspapers, Magazines, and Manuscript Collections
Index
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