When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina

When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina

by W. Lance Bennett
     
 

A sobering look at the intimate relationship between political power and the news media, When the Press Fails argues that the dependence of reporters on official sources disastrously thwarts coverage of dissenting voices from outside the Beltway.

The result is both an indictment of official spin and an urgent call to action that questions why the mainstream press

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Overview

A sobering look at the intimate relationship between political power and the news media, When the Press Fails argues that the dependence of reporters on official sources disastrously thwarts coverage of dissenting voices from outside the Beltway.

The result is both an indictment of official spin and an urgent call to action that questions why the mainstream press failed to challenge the Bush administration's arguments for an invasion of Iraq or to illuminate administration policies underlying the Abu Ghraib controversy. Drawing on revealing interviews with Washington insiders and analysis of content from major news outlets, the authors illustrate the media's unilateral surrender to White House spin whenever oppositional voices elsewhere in government fall silent. Contrasting these grave failures with the refreshingly critical reporting on Hurricane Katrina-a rare event that caught officials off guard, enabling journalists to enter a no-spin zone-When the Press Fails concludes by proposing new practices to reduce reporters' dependence on power.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900226042854
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
09/28/2008
Edition description:
New Edition

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction The Press and Power 1

1 Press Politics In America The Case of the Iraq War 13

2 The Semi-Independent Press A Theory of News and Democracy 46

3 None Dare Call It Torture Abu Ghraib and the Inner Workings of Press Dependence 72

4 The News Reality Filter Why It Matters When the Press Fails 108

5 Managing The News Spin, Status, and Intimidation in the Washington Political Culture 131

6 Toward An Independent Press A Standard for Public Accountability 165

Appendix A Evidence Suggesting a Connection between Abu Ghraib and U.S. Torture Policy 199

Appendix B Methods for Analyzing the News Framing of Abu Ghraib 205

Appendix C Further Findings from the Content Analysis 210

Appendix D Interview Protocol 212

Notes 215

References 235

Index 251

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