On Press: The Lib­eral Val­ues That Shaped the News

THE (Times Higher Education) - - BOOKS -

Matthew Press­man

Har­vard Univer­sity Press

Some­thing dra­matic changed in Amer­i­can jour­nal­ism be­tween 1960 and 1980, claims Matthew Press­man. In­stead of just a bald cat­a­logue of what politi­cians and of­fi­cials were do­ing and say­ing, news cov­er­age in The New York Times and the Los An­ge­les Times, for ex­am­ple, be­gan to re­flect a dis­tinc­tive set of val­ues: “mis­trust of the wealthy and pow­er­ful, sym­pa­thy for the dis­pos­sessed, belief in the gov­ern­ment’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to ad­dress so­cial ills”. Al­though “not de­signed to serve any ide­o­log­i­cal agenda”, the re­sult, Press­man ad­mits, was “a news prod­uct more sat­is­fy­ing to the cen­tre-left than to those who are right of cen­tre”. On Press ex­plores this de­ci­sive lib­eral turn and its en­dur­ing im­pact down to to­day.

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