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Revue canadienne d’études américaines 31 (2001) 503 combat correspondent » (146), Doris Fleeson, qualifiée la même année de « leading newswoman in Washington for her exclusive stories and skillful political reporting » (149) et Alice Dunnigan, « the first black newswoman accredited to the White House » (151). En définitive, Harry S. Truman and the News Media s’avère un ouvrage fort instructif, fouillé, bien écrit et fascinant pour quiconque s’intéresse à l’histoire présidentielle ou à l’évolution du journalisme aux États-Unis. Cela ne veut pas dire pour autant que ladite étude soit exempte d’irrégularités ou de lacunes. Outre certaines répétitions d’information ici et là, le lecteur ne peut s’empêcher de constater, à titre d’exemple, l’absence de quelques titres pertinents en bibliographie. Parmi les plus significatifs, relevons entre autres ceux de Ronald Farrar, A.L. Lorenz, Jr. et Randall Murray. Oeuvres citées Farrar, Ronald. « Harry Truman and the Press ». Journalism History 8 (1981) : 56– 62, 70. Lorenz, A.L., Jr. « Truman and the Press Conference ». Journalism Quarterly 43 (1966) : 671–79. Murray, Randall. Harry S. Truman and Press Opinion, 1945–1953. Thèse de doctorat . Université de Minnesota, 1973. Bernard Lemelin, Université Laval, Québec Mark Fenster. Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1999. Conspiracy is hardly the invention of postmodern America, but, true to their genius for excess, Americans have certainly elevated this phenomenon to the level of national obsession in the post-war period. Various circumstances , interests, and chance occurrences have, dare one say it, conspired to unsettle Americans’ abilities to make easy sense of their quotidian world. In the absence of incontrovertible explanation—whether, for example, for an assassination, a plane crash, or a political event— Americans now, nearly as reflex, turn to complicated narratives of intrigue for understanding and “truth.” Mark Fenster sees conspiracy theory as a politicized form of “hyperactive semiosis” in which events become subject to overinterpretation and through which mindsets quickly become paranoid (xvii). And, by examining various fringe political and religious movements, films, Internet gossip, pop fiction, and even board games, Conspiracy Theories Canadian Review of American Studies 31 (2001) 504 demonstrates well the powerful formative role that conspiracy has played in American politics and popular culture in recent decades. In an effort to provide both theoretical and historical context, Fenster begins his study with a reading of Richard Hofstadter’s germinal work from the 1960s, The Paranoid Style in Politics. As a leading figure of the “consensus” school of American historians, Hofstadter of course ascribes to those critical of American Cold War orthodoxy a form of ideological pathology he terms “political paranoia.” In contrast to mainstream academics like himself and conservative politicians of the period, people who bring reason and pragmatism to political debate and praxis, not to mention a healthy respect for American traditions—individuals who, in the critical frame of C. Wright Mills, form the “power elite” in the US in the 1950s—stand constituencies that seek to elevate irrationality, fear, and resentment to the level of legitimate political discourse but fail. While the latter individuals are not clinically paranoid, their manner of reading their world is like that of the paranoid. Left on the perimeter of national political life, extremists on both sides of the ideological continuum cultivate their paranoia—both as style and substance—thus creating subcultures that not only conspire against the political middle but also see in the latter a primary shaper of conspiracies of its own. One such subculture is treated to detailed analysis in chapter 2. The worst case of American domestic terrorism took place in Oklahoma City in April 1995, when the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building was blown up and nearly two hundred people killed. While Timothy McVeigh would very soon be identified as the perpetrator of this crime, and therein become one of the most infamous figures in American history, the criminal investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing as well as US Senate Subcommittee hearings ultimately shed light on a vast subculture of right-wing militias, such as the Michigan Militia, the Militia of Montana, the Posse Comitatus...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 503-506
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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