Kuypers, Jim A.: Partisan Journalism: A History of Media Bias in the United States

By Bicak, Pete | Communication Research Trends, June 2018 | Go to article overview

Kuypers, Jim A.: Partisan Journalism: A History of Media Bias in the United States


Bicak, Pete, Communication Research Trends


Kuypers, Jim A. Partisan Journalism: A History of Media Bias in the United States. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014. Pp. xv; 303. ISBN 9781-4422-2593-0 (Cloth) $56.00; 978-1-4422-5207-3 (Paper) $34.00; 978-1-4422-2594-7 (eBook) $32.00.

The Tet Offensive, initiated by the North Vietnamese in 1968, resulted in mass casualties of North Vietnamese, Viet Cong, and American soldiers. On February 27, 1968, CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite proclaimed, essentially, that the war was unwinnable: "[It] is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could."

Reactions to Cronkite's statement have resulted in great debate about its effects on perceptions of U.S. involvement in the war. Jim Kuypers identifies the statement as an example of "snatching defeat form the jaws of victory," a total misreading by the media of U.S. success in response to Tet (p. 79). Across its 12 chapters, the author covers four major periods in American journalism: partisan journalism in the early years of the country, objectivism in the early 20th century, a "conspiracy of shared values" in the 1960s, and the emergence of a competition of partisan viewpoints in the past 35 years. As the author puts it, he "makes an argument" about how liberal bias in the "establishment" media has changed throughout history, "how it transformed itself first from a partisan press to professional, objective, fact-based journalism, then how it changed yet again back into a biased and overwhelmingly liberal press, then again transitioned into a 'partisan' press with new conservative competition" (p. 6).

Kuypers begins with a detailed look at the origins of newspapers in America. He draws from literacy rates, the movement of news inland through the U.S. post office, and the formation of the Democratic Party under Martin Van Buren. Kuypers argues that newspapers existed to be partisan, and their function was to carry highly edited versions of political discourse out of eastern cities. "Thus, rather than reading and analyzing 'news' for themselves, many people absorbed a regurgitated version of publically accepted 'news' that had been edited by literate (and loud) locals" (p. 19). His historical overview continues in Chapters 2 and 3. Here, he takes us through the 19th century and identifies use of the telegraph during the Civil War as a critical incident in the growth of objective news reporting. Telegraphs were used to report facts, and a "new journalism" emerged separating news from editorials. Also arising in this era was advocacy journalism, an attempt to not just report a story, but to act as a force of social good, to become agents of change. The author refers to the "Golden Age of Objective Journalism" as the profession turned toward objectivity at the turn of the 20th century. Kuypers is thorough in his illustrations of publishers' pursuit of ethical standards and fight for respectability among newspapers in the 1960s.

Kuypers weaves together extensive accounts of the Vietnam War provided by historians and journalists at the time (in the chapter "Three Presidents and a War"). The journalistic accounts, he argues, are overwhelmingly left leaning, and often do not reflect favorable public opinion of early involvement in the war. An overriding cause of the accounts is reliance on sources within the U.S. military whose perspectives were at odds with military leaders. Moreover, the press could not possibly have the depth and breadth of sources and knowledge of the North Vietnamese casualties, mistakes, disagreements, and so on in order to provide balanced reporting. Kuypers does take on Watergate for a brief period, arguing that journalists took what he considers routine dirty tricks to extraordinary lengths out of a desire to hurt President Nixon. The chapter is fascinating, and it alone serves as a strong case study of the relationship between organizations (public, corporate, governmental, etc. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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 ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Kuypers, Jim A.: Partisan Journalism: A History of Media Bias in the United States
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
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.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.