Sentinel under Siege: The Triumphs and Troubles of America's Free Press

By Stanley E. Flink | Go to book overview

21
THE PARADOX OF SELF-GOVERNMENT

I think that there is, in most journalists I know, however cynical and however hardened they are about politics or public life in this country, or however discouraged about problems that never really get resolved or situations that never improve, there remains a very strong streak of idealism. They do think they are part of an important calling that is vital to the democracy. They really do.

-- Robert MacNeil, television journalist, Canadian Broadcasting, NBC, MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour

James Madison contemplated the possibility that newspaper publishers who printed inaccurate or unpalatable criticisms of political figures would be fined or thrown in jail -- or both -- because of sedition laws. "It would seem a mockery," he said, "to say that no laws shall be passed preventing publications from being made, but that laws might be passed for punishing them in case they should be made (emphasis added).1

The Zenger case in 1735 had introduced the principle that truth was a defense. Criticism, no matter how harsh, damaging, or satirical, appeared to be protected if a jury found the substance of the writing to be true. The judgment, however, was not scientific or statutory and, as discussed earlier, it could cut in both directions. What was true in the view of the publisher and his readers might be called false, libelous, malicious, by a jury that was sympathetic to the plaintiff. If the speaker or publisher had to prove that what had been said was true in every respect, the cost alone of that process could be forbidding. The cost of failure could be prison. The fear of sedition charges, no matter how undeserved, could and did chill the open discussion of public issues. The word licentious was commonly used in the early nineteenth century to describe seditious materials, that is, materials that criti

-218-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Sentinel under Siege: The Triumphs and Troubles of America's Free Press
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 325

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.