THIS BOOK had its origin in a discussion with David Riesman five years ago. In that conversation, I expressed my interest in tracing the social history of important modern values. If there is a history of ideas and a sociology of knowledge, is there not also a history of ideals and a sociology of values? It is a long way from that general question to a specific study of objectivity in American journalism. But it was David Riesman's sensitive response to my first, tentative articulation of an idea that helped me take the idea seriously. I am indebted to him for the unceasing generosity of his mind and spirit.
In an earlier version, this work was a doctoral dissertation in the Department of Sociology at Harvard University. It concerned the history of the ideal of objectivity in American law and in American journalism. While the work on the legal profession is not represented here, the discipline of comparing two occupational groups was very important to me, and my discussion of journalism would have been the poorer without it. My dissertation advisers, Daniel Bell and Morton Horwitz, demonstrated a personal interest in my project and in me which was far beyond any call of duty. I am enormously grateful for their intellectual and moral support.
Many others helped me through the dissertation. In reading my manuscript and encouraging my work Cora Brooks, Robert Manoff, and Robert Snow were more helpful than I know how to say. Robert Post's detailed criticism of several chapters was very important. Richard Schuldenfrei's intelligent and infectious enthusiasm for my efforts was indispensable.
As I turned the dissertation into a book, more friends and colleagues came to my aid. For reading the entire manuscript and advising me on it, I acknowledge the help of Morris