This primary source collection will help readers to understand how the press has been vilified (usually by powerful political or corporate interests) over the course of American history, with a special focus on current events and how these efforts to censor or influence news coverage often flout First Amendment protections concerning freedom of the press. Selected documents highlight efforts to intimidate, silence, condemn, marginalize, and otherwise undercut the credibility and influence of American journalism from the colonial era through the Trump presidency.
Most of the featured documents focus on efforts borne out of self-interested attempts to shape or conceal news for political or economic gain or personal fame, but coverage also includes instances in which press actions, attitudes, or priorities deserved censure. All told, the collection will be a valuable resource for understanding the importance of a free press to American life (and the constitutional basis for preserving such), the motivations (both selfish and altruistic) of critics of American journalism from the earliest days of the Republic to today, and the impact of all of the above on American society.
- More than 65 essential and illuminating primary documents provide key insights into American news media and freedom of the press
- Primary source selections span the history of American news coverage, from the nation's earliest days to today's Twitter-driven media landscape
- Informative, authoritative, and balanced introductory notes for each primary source help readers to understand the context in which they were created
- A Reader's Guide to Related Documents and sidebars connecting readers with additional information on the topic