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

By Stanley E. Flink | Go to book overview

16
TRASH AND FLASH

I once proposed that philosophy departments be disbanded and that every faculty of the university have its own philosophy department, that there be one in the law school and in the medical school and in the school of journalism and the rest, to raise these questions of presuppositions, methodology and implication which philosophers are professionally prepared to raise in special ways. And I think, in part at least, it's that lacuna that's now taking its revenge on us.

-- Jaroslav Pelikan, former president, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Sterling Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University

The color-me-yellow momentum might have been given other pigments, but its editorial characteristics grew out of the intense competition among mass circulation papers in America's big cities. Best known among those contests was the race between Hearst and Pulitzer in New York City at the turn of the century. William Randolph Hearst, born in California, had inherited money, property, and a newspaper from his father. The San Francisco Examiner was the first in a chain of papers the young and ambitious Hearst put together while creating a press empire with national influence. In 1895, he bought the New York Journal and went east, taking some of his staff with him. Pulitzer's new journalism had impressed Hearst, who had already adapted the breezy, aggressive style of the New York World for the Examiner's readers with considerable success. As would often be the case in the shrill, ceaseless scramble for circulation, Hearst raided his opponent's talent roster, brandishing higher salaries. Some reporters and editors switched and the battle was on. The World had to lower its newsstand price to match the Journal's penny. Each paper pumped up its Sunday editions with color printing, comics, sports, and splashy illustrations. Circulations climbed to 600,000 -- about the same for both papers. It was then that

-172-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - IN SEARCH OF A ROLE 5
  • 2 - THE PRESS AND THE LAW 18
  • 3 - MALICE WITHOUT WIT 29
  • 4 - POMP AND PROVENANCE 45
  • 5 - PRACTICING FREEDOM 70
  • 6 - THE LIMITS OF LIBERTY 78
  • 7 - CRAFTING A CONSTITUTION 87
  • 8 - SAFEGUARDING LIBERTY 95
  • 9 - ENLARGING THE FOURTH ESTATE 100
  • 10 - THE BLOODIEST WAR 112
  • 11 - THE BOTTOM LINES 120
  • 12 - TURNING AWAY 140
  • 13 - THE FIRST AND THE FOURTEENTH 149
  • 16 - TRASH AND FLASH 172
  • 17 - THE IS AND THE OUGHT 180
  • 18 - THE CRITICS 188
  • 19 - FEAR AND LOATHING 197
  • 20 - THE WEIGHT OF OBLIGATIONS 209
  • 21 - THE PARADOX OF SELF-GOVERNMENT 218
  • 22 - LIBEL AND LIABILITY 234
  • 23 - FREE AS THE AIR 244
  • 24 - TRAINING THE WATCHDOGS 256
  • EPILOGUEO: PATHFINDING 262
  • Notes 271
  • SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 301
  • ABOUT THE BOOK AND AUTHOR 309
  • Index 311
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