Power Plays: Politics, Football, and Other Blood Sports

By John M. Barry | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE

In the first chapter many pages ago, I said that this is a book about power in many of its incarnations. Some of what is contained in here came directly from my own experiences, some from my role as an journalist.

I always resisted being called a “journalist.” My view of the profession was formed when I was a high school sophomore and got into a football game for the first time. The local paper published the names of everyone who got into the game, so the next morning I got up early to see my name in the paper. It wasn’t there. Worse, someone with whom I competed and who had not played had his name in the paper. At the time I thought the papers must do a better job when they wrote about something important. Much later I discovered that, too often, the press was sloppy with important things too.

The press disappoints so much because in a free society it matters so much. It is not the role of the press to right wrongs, or even necessarily to uncover truths. That is too much to expect, given the competitive pressures driving the media—the need to be first, a fear of sticking out when wrong and of falling behind when everyone else in moving in another direction—which makes it superficial and headline-oriented. One cannot even expect it to resist particularly well being manipulated, since it often serves the media’s own interest to yield to manipulation. But one can expect it to correct lies, and to report truths uncovered by society’s critics. And one can expect less smugness and self-congratulation, and more self-examination and self-criticism. That much is possible because it requires only a change of fashion, not a change in the institution. Gingrich didn’t invent negative campaigning or personal attacks. Andrew Jackson’s morals were a matter of public debate, until he killed

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Power Plays: Politics, Football, and Other Blood Sports
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Home 1
  • Flexible Blocking Patterns 3
  • Jimmy 11
  • Washington the Players 19
  • The Making of a Politician I 21
  • The Making of a Politican II 35
  • The Media 45
  • Game’s over 55
  • It’s All a Part of the Game 57
  • No More Play 65
  • Regrets 80
  • Washington Wright’s Play 83
  • The Floor 85
  • Peace 93
  • The Vote 99
  • Washington Gingrich’s Play 131
  • The outside Game 133
  • The Olympians 151
  • Renaldo Nehemiah 153
  • Linda Dragan 158
  • Michael Storm 163
  • Mark Cameron 168
  • Postscript 175
  • The Fall 177
  • The Trial 179
  • Epilogue 203
  • Index 211
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