Don't Shoot the Messenger: How our Growing Hatred of the Media Threatens Free Speech for All of Us

Sanford, Bruce

Published by Free Press, 1999
ISBN 10: 0684828138 / ISBN 13: 9780684828138
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Synopsis: A media attorney and authority on First Amendment law argues that the public's growing disenchantment with the media could erode Americans' constitutional freedoms.

Review: First Amendment specialist Bruce Sanford believes that a tidal wave of antimedia sentiment and distrust is undermining one of the most basic rights of the United States. "Loathed and distrusted by the public they hunger to serve," Don't Shoot the Messenger asserts, "the media is discovering that its crumbling credibility with the public is reflected in the courts." Sanford uses anecdotes, public opinion polls, and research to bolster the claim that over the past two decades the public has grown increasingly mistrustful of media motives and accuracy. Polling results point to media cynicism, relentless aggressiveness, sensationalism, and suspected bias as the chief culprits in the public's increased disdain for those who present the news. But it's not exactly clear whether Sanford sides with the public or the media; he seems to simultaneously deride the media for intrusive and unfair reportage--citing incidents as varied as profiles of Dan Quayle and ride-alongs with law enforcement officers as they move in on suspects--and for lack of backbone (for settling lawsuits brought against news organizations out of court). He presents deserved criticism of news organizations' tactics and increased obsession with the bottom line, but his defense of the media is lackluster in comparison, and it seemingly contradicts his expressed alarm over recent court decisions that have had the effect of reining in the media. If reporters don't clean up their act, he worries, the court decisions are likely to get worse. --Linda Killian

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Title: Don't Shoot the Messenger: How our Growing ...
Publisher: Free Press
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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