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Masson v. New Yorker and the First Amendment
In November 1984, Jeffrey Masson filed a libel suit against writer Janet Malcolm and the New Yorker, claiming that Malcolm had intentionally misquoted him in a profile she wrote for the magazine about his former career as a Freud scholar and administrator of the Freud archives. Over the next twelve years the case moved up and down the federal judicial ladder, at one point reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, as lawyers and judges wrestled with questions about the representation of “truth” in journalism and, by extension, the limits of First Amendment protections of free speech. Had a successful Freudian scholar actually called himself an “intellectual gigolo” and “the greatest analyst who ever lived”? Or had a respected writer for the New Yorker knowingly placed false, self-damning words in her subject's mouth? In Literary Journalism on Trial, Kathy Roberts Forde explores the implications of Masson v. New Yorker in the context of the history of American journalism. She shows how the case represents a watershed moment in a long debate between the advocates of traditional and literary journalism and explains how it reflects a significant intellectual project of the period: the postmodern critique of objectivity, with its insistence on the instability of language and rejection of unitary truth in human affairs. The case, Forde argues, helped widen the perceived divide between ideas of literary and traditional journalism and forced the resolution of these conflicting conceptions of truth in the constitutional arena of libel law. By embracing traditional journalism's emphasis on fact and objectivity and rejecting a broader understanding of truth, the Supreme Court turned away from the First Amendment theory articulated in previous rulings, opting to value less the free, uninhibited interchange of ideas necessary to democracy and more the “trustworthiness” of public expression. The Court's decision in this case thus had implications that reached beyond the legal realm to the values and norms expressed in the triangular relationship between American democracy, First Amendment principles, and the press.
An Oral History
With a legendary beginning as a printing press floated up the Arkansas River in 1819, the Arkansas Gazette is inextricably linked with the state’s history, reporting on every major Arkansas event until the paper’s demise in 1991 after a long, bitter, and very public newspaper war. Looking Back at the Arkansas Gazette, knowledgeably and intimately edited by longtime Gazette reporter Roy Reed, comprises interviews from over a hundred former Gazette staffers recalling the stories they reported on and the people they worked with from the late forties to the paper’s end. The result is a nostalgic and justifiably admiring look back at a publication known for its progressive stance in a conservative Southern state, a newspaper that, after winning two Pulitzers for its brave rule-of-law stance during the Little Rock Central High Crisis, was considered one of the country’s greatest. The interviews, collected from archives at the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas, provide fascinating details on renowned editors and reporters such as Harry Ashmore, Orville Henry, and Charles Portis, journalists who wrote daily on Arkansas’s always-colorful politicians, its tragic disasters and sensational crimes, its civil rights crises, Bill Clinton, the Razorbacks sports teams, and much more. Full of humor and little-known details, Looking Back at the Arkansas Gazette is a fascinating remembrance of a great newspaper.
The White House Communications Operation
Political scientists are rarely able to study presidents from inside the White House while presidents are governing, campaigning, and delivering thousands of speeches. It’s even rarer to find one who manages to get officials such as political adviser Karl Rove or presidential counselor Dan Bartlett to discuss their strategies while those strategies are under construction. But that is exactly what Martha Joynt Kumar pulls off in her fascinating new book, which draws on her first-hand reporting, interviewing, and original scholarship to produce analyses of the media and communications operations of the past four administrations, including chapters on George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Kumar describes how today’s White House communications and media operations can be at once in flux and remarkably stable over time. She describes how the presidential Press Office that was once manned by a single presidential advisor evolved into a multilayered communications machine that employs hundreds of people, what modern presidents seek to accomplish through their operations, and how presidents measure what they get for their considerable efforts. Laced throughout with in-depth statistics, historical insights, and you-are-there interviews with key White House staffers and journalists, this indispensable and comprehensive dissection of presidential communications operations will be key reading for scholars of the White House researching the presidency, political communications, journalism, and any other discipline where how and when one speaks is at least as important as what one says.
Architecture and Communications in New York City
With a unique focus on corporate headquarters as embodiments of the values of the press and as signposts for understanding media culture, Media Capital: Architecture and Communications in New York City demonstrates the mutually supporting relationship between the media and urban space. Aurora Wallace considers how architecture contributed to the power of the press, the nature of the reading public, the commercialization of media, and corporate branding in the media industry. Tracing the rise and concentration of the media industry in New York City from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, Wallace analyzes physical and discursive space, as well as labor, technology, and aesthetics, to understand the entwined development of the mass media and late capitalism._x000B_
New Orleans through the Eyes of a Lover
A vividly described and intensely personal memoir, My Bayou charts a personal and spiritual transformation along the fabled banks of Bayou Saint John in New Orleans. When Constance Adler moved to New Orleans, she began what would become a lasting love affair with the city, and especially the bayou, a living entity and the beating heart of local culture. Rites of passage, celebrations, mysterious accidents, and magic all took place on its banks, leading Adler to a vibrant awareness of a divine intelligence animating the world. That faith is tested in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when Adler’s conviction that the sadness that surrounds her can only be leavened by the optimistic act of having a child comes into devastating conflict with her husband’s position on parenthood.
American Journalism and Diplomacy, 1918-1919
Negotiating in the Press offers a new interpretation of an otherwise dark moment in American journalism. Rather than emphasize the familiar story of lost journalistic freedom during World War I, Joseph R. Hayden describes the press’s newfound power in the war’s aftermath—that seminal moment when journalists discovered their ability to help broker peace talks. He examines the role of the American press at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, looking at journalists’ influence on the peace process and their relationship to heads of state and other delegation members. Challenging prevailing historical accounts that assume the press was peripheral to the quest for peace, Hayden demonstrates that journalists instead played an integral part in the talks, by serving as “public ambassadors.” During the late 1910s, as World War I finally came to a close, American journalists and diplomats found themselves working in unlikely proximity, with correspondents occasionally performing diplomatic duties and diplomats sometimes courting publicity. The efforts of both groups to facilitate the peace talks at Versailles arose amidst the vision of a “new diplomacy,” one characterized by openness, information sharing, and public accountability. Using evidence from memoirs, official records, and contemporary periodicals, Hayden reveals that participants in the Paris Peace Conference continually wrestled with ideas about the roles of the press and, through the press, the people. American journalists reported on an abundance of information in Paris, and negotiators could not resist the useful leverage that publicity provided. Peacemaking via publicity, a now-obscure dimension of progressive statecraft, provided a powerful ideological ethos. It hinted at dynamically altered roles for journalists and diplomats, offered hope for a world desperate for optimism and order, and, finally, suggested that the fruits of America’s great age of reform might be shared with a Europe exhausted by war. The peace conference of 1919, Hayden demonstrates, marked a decisive stage in the history of American journalism, a coming of age for many news organizations. By detailing what journalists did before, during, and after the Paris talks, he tells us a great deal about how the negotiators and the Wilson administration worked throughout 1919. Ultimately, he provides a richer integrative view of peacemaking as a whole. An engaging analysis of diplomacy and the Fourth Estate, Negotiating in the Press offers a fascinating look at how leading nations democratized foreign policy a century ago and ushered in the dawn of public diplomacy.
Illustrated Sketches from the Daily City Item
Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904) was a master satirist who displayed a fiery wit both as a writer and as an artist. For seven months in 1880, he surprised and amused the readers of New Orleans with his wood-block "cartoons" and accompanying articles, which were variously funny, scathing, surreal, political, whimsical, and moral. This delightful book collects in their entirety, for the first time, all of the extant satirical columns and woodcut illustrations published in the Daily City Item—181 columns in all. Hearn displays immense range, illuminating in words and prints the unique culture of New Orleans, including its Creole history, debauched underworld, corrupt politicians, and voudou practitioners. The columns are expertly annotated by Delia LaBarre, who places them in their unique Crescent City context. With virtually no training in art of any kind, Hearn began creating his illustrations partly to boost the circulation of a small daily newspaper in a competitive market. He believed in the power of satirical cartoons to communicate big ideas in small spaces—in particular, to reveal the habits, prejudices, and delusions of the current generation. Blind in his left eye (since a boyhood accident) and severely myopic in his right, Hearn nonetheless painstakingly carved out drawings on wood blocks with a penknife to be printed alongside his articles on the newspaper's letterpress. Hearn developed, from the first of these woodcuts to the last, a unique style that expressed the full range of his wit, from razor-sharp condemnation to tender affection. Hearn had a keen eye for the absurd, along with an extraordinary ability to modulate his criticism and praise in a continuum from cauterizing vitriol to palliative balm, from the heaviest sarcasm to the lightest wit. In the pieces collected here, there can be found a unifying thread: Hearn's love/hate relationship with the virtues and vices of New Orleans, a city that continually amused and amazed him. Born in Greece and raised in Ireland, Lafcadio Hearn immigrated to the United States as a teenager and became a newspaper reporter in Cincinnati, Ohio. When he married a black woman, an act that was illegal at the time, the newspaper fired him and Hearn relocated to New Orleans. In the early 1880s his contributions to national publications (like Harper's Weekly and Scribners Magazine) helped mold the popular image of New Orleans as a colorful place of decadence and hedonism. In 1888, Hearn left New Orleans for Japan, where he took the name Koizumi Yakumo and worked as a teacher, journalist, and writer. "And it may come to pass that I shall have stranger things to tell you; for this is a land of magical moons and of witches and of warlocks; and were I to tell you all that I have seen and heard in these years in this enchanted City of Dreams you would verily deem me mad rather than morbid." —Lafcadio Hearn, 1880, describing New Orleans in a letter to a friend
Contributions of an Uncompromising Critic to the Democratic Process in Cameroon
No Trifling Matter is a collection of controversial, critical weekly commentary on the reluctance of a monolithic regime to yield to popular aspirations for democracy in Cameroon. In these essays written between 1990 and November 1992, Godfrey Tangwa, alias Rotcod Gobata, doesnít quibble. He comes across as a man of courage and resolve; one ready to swim upstream in a manner of a desperate midwife eager to prevent a still birth (in this case, of democracy). His column is as daring an embarrassment to Biyaís ìdÈmocratie avancÈeî as the radio programme ìCameroon Reportî (later ìCameroon Callingî), was to Presidents Ahidjo and Biya in the hey days of the ìparti uniqueî. Rotcod Gobata believes the time has come for Cameroon to graduate from a country over milked by mediocrity and callous indifference, to the paradise that it was meant to be for the poor and downtrodden. In this regard, he belongs with that rare breed of intellectuals who are genuine in their pursuit of collective betterment, and who in consequence, have opted to distance themselves from the stomach and all its trappings. This position is to be commended and encouraged, especially in a system where explanation is often mistaken for subversion, a system where the stomach is about the only political path-finder - the sole compass in use, a country where the champions of falsehood want all at their beck and call, and where a handful of thirsting palates daily jostle to share with Count Dracula the blood of the common and forgotten. Rotcod Gobata wants the new Cameroon to be rid of the ills and failures of the past five decades that have made it impossible for Cameroonians in their millions to live productive and creative lives.