Giving Meanings to the World: The First U.S. Foreign Correspondents, 1838-1859/fanatics & Fire-Eaters: Newspapers and the Coming of the Civil War

By Mindich, David T. Z. | Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

Giving Meanings to the World: The First U.S. Foreign Correspondents, 1838-1859/fanatics & Fire-Eaters: Newspapers and the Coming of the Civil War


Mindich, David T. Z., Journalism & Mass Communication Educator


* Dell'Orto, Giovanna (2002). Giving Meanings to the World: The First U.S. Foreign Correspondents, 1838-1859. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, pp. 149.

* Rainer, Lorman A. and Dwight L. Teeter, Jr. (2003). Fanatics & Fire-Eaters: Newspapers and the Coming of the Civil War. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, pp. 138.

James Gordon Bennett, the founder of the New York Herald, had this to say about the leader of Catholicism, the faith of Bennett's birth: "If we must have a Pope, let us have a Pope of our own,-an American Pope, an intellectual, intelligent, and moral Pope,-not such a decrepit, licentious, stupid Italian blockhead as...Rome condescends to give the Christian world. . ." Fifty years before Joseph Pulitzer claimed that the New York World had no friends, James Gordon Bennett set the standard in friendlessness, never to be equaled. With his attacks on everyone-Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, natives, blacks, men, women, drunkards, temperance advocates, and abolitionists, to name a few-Bennott proved himself to be an equal opportunity critic. he even criticized slave owners, despite the modern notion that Bennett was an unwavering apologist for slavery (an apologist he was, but he wavered). The friendlessness of Bennett extended into presidential politics as well: Bennett endorsed a Democrat in 1836, a Whig in 1840, a Democrat in 1844, a Whig in 1848, a Democrat in 1852, and a Republican in 1856.

Bennett and other practitioners of the new, independent, and nonpartisan journalism of the antebellum era play a strong supporting role in two new books, Giovanna Dell'Orto's Giving Meanings to the World: The First U.S. Foreign Correspondents, I838-1859; and Lorman A. Ratner and Dwight L. Teeter, Jr.'s Fanatics & Fire-Eaters: Newspapers and the Coming of the Civil War. While those books have differing themes and foci, each provides journalism professors and their students new ways of looking at how journalism evolved from the birth of the penny press to the start of the Civil War.

Dell'Orto's book concentrates on how antebellum journalists made sense of world events. In the late 1830s, newspaper publishers began to make use of transatlantic steamers to get news from Europe. Bennett himself traveled to Europe to set up news "bureaus" that would report back to the American market. Dell'Orto carefully connects the rise of international reporting with the birth and success of the penny press model in the 183Os. This is true for three reasons: First, American newspapers now had enough money, generated from street sales and advertising, to greatly expand their staffs. second, the culture of reporting had surely matured during this period. When James Gordon Bennett heard about the ax-murder of a beautiful prostitute in 1836, he walked down the street to the brothel and surveyed the crime scene. This spirit of enterprise reporting departed from the partisan press model and set the stage for the kind of international reporting that would follow. No longer would editors be content with cutting and pasting their news from the European dailies. Third, the emerging culture of proto-objectivity was shaping both the domestic and international coverage. "Being in the dark," wrote a correspondent for the Tribune in 1859, "...I do not guess, but report and pass on." (p. 89) As editors and writers departed from the partisan model of expressing opinions forcefully, they tried, with mixed but growing success, to write dispassionately about the world around them.

Ratner and Teeter's book about the coverage of events leading up to the Civil War emphasizes not the growing independence of the mid-nineteenth-century press but the lingering partisanship. In their introduction, the authors repeatedly emphasized what they called the "lack of independence in political terms" (p. 21). They used Horace Greeley and Henry Raymond, of the Daily Tribune and Times, respectively, as exemplars. …

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

Items saved from this article

This article 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 article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
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, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 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.

Cited article

Giving Meanings to the World: The First U.S. Foreign Correspondents, 1838-1859/fanatics & Fire-Eaters: Newspapers and the Coming of the Civil War
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

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, 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

    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.

    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.