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by Sean Wilentz,Sidney Blumenthal,Ronald Steel,Walter Lippmann

Download Liberty and the News (The James Madison Library in American Politics) fb2, epub

ISBN: 0691134804
Author: Sean Wilentz,Sidney Blumenthal,Ronald Steel,Walter Lippmann
Language: English
Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1st Princeton Pbk. Ed edition (October 21, 2007)
Pages: 120
Category: Writing Research & Publishing Guides
Subcategory: Reference
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 152
Size Fb2: 1641 kb
Size ePub: 1679 kb
Size Djvu: 1483 kb
Other formats: lrf doc azw lit


The forward by Ronald Steel and the afterward by Sidney Blumenthal are valuable additions to the book.

His many books include A Preface to Politics, Public Opinion, A Preface to Morals, and The Good Society. Ronald Steel is professor of international relations and history at the University of Southern California. He is author of Walter Lippman and the American Century. The forward by Ronald Steel and the afterward by Sidney Blumenthal are valuable additions to the book. The Princeton University Press has provided above average binding and design.

Series: The James Madison Library in American Politics. This meant the American system was dual in institutional structure. One sector where big business predominated and the dynamics of "planning" ran supreme

Series: The James Madison Library in American Politics. One sector where big business predominated and the dynamics of "planning" ran supreme. The other where small business and the dynamics of the profit motivate ran supreme. This was a situation that businessmen well understand, but that policy economists and politicians failed to appreciate the full relevance and policy implications. In its fortieth anniversary publication, the institutional structure of the American economy has radically transformed.

Liberty and the News (The James Madison Library in American Politics)Paperback. Ronald Steel has written extensively on American politics and foreign policy, and is the author of several books, including Pax Americana

Liberty and the News (The James Madison Library in American Politics)Paperback. Ronald Steel has written extensively on American politics and foreign policy, and is the author of several books, including Pax Americana. Born in Ilinois and educated at Northwestern and Harvard Universities, he is professor of international relations and history at the University of Southern California. Croly also got my attention by framing the debate exactly as I do, and then framing the entirety of American political history, like I do, in terms of the debate. For example, from the get-go, Croly establishes the opposing visions of Hamilton and Jefferson as the fundamental philosophical split in America and traces the dispute up to the present.

This little gem of a book, which first appeared in 1920, was written in Walter Lippmann's thirtieth year

This little gem of a book, which first appeared in 1920, was written in Walter Lippmann's thirtieth year. He was still full of the passionate faith in democracy that was evident in his writings before the First World War. From today's point of view, Lippmann's argument seems unusually prescient.

Walter Lippman's Liberty and the News is a critical book in understanding how the press can endanger our freedom.

Liberty and the News (The James Madison Library in American Politics). Politics News : Politics at FOX has news, opi We are the world best leading online newspaper portal. You all are the most welcome in our newspaper. Walter Lippman's Liberty and the News is a critical book in understanding how the press can endanger our freedom. Lippman contends that there is a strong relationship between our freedom and the truth being reported in the media. 1 2 3 4 5. Want to Read.

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The James Madison Library in American Politics is devoted to reviving important American political writings of the recent and distant past. The Kerner Report is a powerful window into the roots of racism and inequality in the United States

Liberty and the News is Walter Lippman's classic account of how the press threatens democracy whenever it has an agenda other than the free flow of ideas. Arguing that there is a necessary connection between liberty and truth, Lippman excoriates the press, claiming that it exists primarily for its own purposes and agendas and only incidentally to promote the honest interplay of facts and ideas. In response, Lippman sought to imagine a better way of cultivating the news.

A brilliant essay on a persistent problem of American democracy, Liberty and the News is still powerfully relevant despite the development of countless news sources unimagined when Lippman first published it in 1920. The problems he identifies--the self-importance of the press, the corrosion of rumors and innuendo, and the spinning of the news by political powers--are still with us, and they still threaten liberty. By focusing on the direct and necessary connection between liberty and truth, Lippmann's work helps to clarify one of the most pressing predicaments of American democracy today.

Comments:

Meztisho
Wow! What an impressive book. "Liberty and the News" was published in 1920, almost a hundred years ago, and it is very timely. While we are discussing real news versus fake news in 2017, Walter Lippmann was examining how bad journalism can be a threat to our democracy in 1920. The topics he explores are important. I recommend this edition published by the James Madison Library at Princeton University Press. The forward by Ronald Steel and the afterward by Sidney Blumenthal are valuable additions to the book. The Princeton University Press has provided above average binding and design.
Tolrajas
Good analysis from somebody who lived during the time period.
Contancia
This brilliant collection comprises three linked essays by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Walter Lippmann - Journalism and the Higher Law, What Modern Liberty Means, and Liberty and the News, and a longer study, `A test of the news', by Lippmann and Charles Merz, all published in 1920.

As the authors wrote, `A test of the news' "deals with the reporting of... the Russian Revolution from March, 1917, to March, 1920. The analysis covers thirty-six months and over one thousand issues of a daily newspaper [the New York Times]. The authors have examined all news items about Russia in that period in the newspaper selected; between three and four thousand items were noted. Little attention was paid to editorials."

The authors wrote, "The only question asked is whether the reader of the news was given a picture of various phases of the revolution which survived the test of events, or whether he was misled into believing that the outcome of events would be radically different from the actual outcome."

They noted, "In the two years from November, 1917, to November, 1919, no less than ninety-one times was it stated that the Soviets were nearing their rope's end, or actually had reached it."

In November 1919, a representative of the Czech army said of the government propped up by the British government, "our army has been forced against its convictions to support a state of absolute despotism and unlawfulness which had had its beginnings here under defense of the Czech arms. The military authorities of the Government of Omsk are permitting criminal actions that will stagger the entire world. The burning of villages, the murder of masses of peaceful inhabitants and the shooting of hundreds of persons of democratic convictions and also those only suspected of political disloyalty occurs daily."

Polish forces attacked Russia in January 1919. The Times said, "The Bolsheviki have forced the Poles to take up arms by their advance into Polish territory. ... The Bolsheviki are advancing toward Vilna." But Vilna was not in Poland. There had been no Russian `advance into Polish territory'. But there had been a Polish advance into Russian territory. The authors wrote, "in the guise of news they picture Russia, and not Poland, as the aggressor as early as January, 1919." They noted that by 2 December 1919, Polish armies were more than 180 miles deep in Russian territory: "the repeated threats of a Bolshevist offensive simply served as a smokescreen for Polish aggression."

On 21 January 1920, the Times stated as fact, "The strategy of the Bolshevist military campaign during the coming Spring contemplates a massed attack against Poland, as the first step in a projected Red invasion of Europe and a military diversion through Turkestan and Afghanistan toward India." On 29 January, the Soviet government, with Polish forces still 180 miles inside its borders, again `recognized the independence and sovereignty of the Polish republic' and again invited Polish statesmen to enter into peace talks.

They wrote of, "Fourteen dispatches in the month of January [1920], warning of Red Peril to India and Poland, Europe and Azerbaijan, Persia; Georgia and Mesopotamia." But there followed no invasions of India, Europe, Persia or Mesopotamia. The dispatches, from London, Paris and Washington, were from `British military authorities', diplomatic circles', `government sources', `official quarters', `expert military opinion' and `well-informed diplomats'. Some things don't change.

The authors summed up, "In the large, the news about Russia is a case of seeing not what was, but what men wished to see. ... From the point of view of professional journalism the reporting of the Russian Revolution is nothing short of a disaster. On the essential questions the net effect was almost always misleading, and misleading news is worse than none at all."
Anaragelv
Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), nearly 35 years dead, towers over American journalism like the Washington Monument towers over the National Mall. His influence stretches, like a shadow, from near the beginning of the twentieth century to its end and beyond. Lippmann surely never saw a personal computer and probably never dreamed of the Internet. Nevertheless, his thought shapes much of the content that professional journalists post on the World Wide Web. High-minded amateurs who set up blogs in revolt against "mainstream" journalism -- many of whom probably never heard of Walter Lippmann or are but vaguely aware that there was once such a person -- labor under the influence of Lippmann. Their work, their ideals, their ideas in part are shaped by him if they know it or if they don't. In sum, it is impossible to overstate Lippmann's influence on American journalism and it is good when something happens that recalls journalism's attention to the life and to the thought of Walter Lippmann.

The latest such thing is a reprint of Lippmann's first book, 'Liberty and the News' (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press; 2008; 118 pp; $16.95). The original work was published in 1920. This latest edition is updated inasmuch as it features a new Foreword by Ronald Steel and an Afterword by Sidney Blumenthal.

Neither Steel nor Blumenthal manages to squeeze any fresh juice out of Lippmann's book. To treat the modern writers fairly, however, one must allow that after three generations of academic journalists and hordes of gradgrinds have pored over 'Liberty and the News' with microscopic intensity it would require genius of a rare order to find and extract even one drop of additional meaning from Lippmann's text.

Ronald Steel, for his part, gives us a Foreword that is learned, lucid, concise and useful. Steel needs fewer than 11 pages to background readers on the book. He puts Lippmann's work in context and points out a few of the author's most salient ideas. In so doing, Steel captures and hones the attention of readers who might otherwise be unaware of Lippmann's import and therefore reluctant to stroll for two or three hours through the author's supple-but-sonorous, vintage prose.

Readers who take that brief hike are rewarded, for it's likely that many of those who today yell loudest about bias in journalism have no idea that, almost 90 years ago, thoughtful people were deeply concerned about the same problem. Moreover, it seems likely that those who shout loudest today are so busy shouting about bias in journalism that they're unaware of other rotten spots in the craft.

Lippmann called attention not only to bias but to those other rotten spots as well, all of which he contended are mere symptoms of problems much deeper and more profound -- problems that, being rooted in human nature itself, threaten to belie Enlightenment ideals such as truth, justice, democracy, and scientific government. At the peroration of Chapter 1, for example, Lippmann got up on his hind legs to ask what verdict history will lay upon a nation that, professing a belief in government by the will of the people, was content to make decisions about government on the basis of 'facts' reported by a class of people who were notorious, professional liars. ('Liberty and the News,' 8 )

Chapter 2 hits just as hard while asking more and deeper questions. Here Lippmann stumped for a new definition of the word "liberty" that might serve us better than the definition we now employ. "A useful definition of liberty," he wrote, "is obtainable only by seeking the principle of liberty in the main business of human life, that is to say, in the process by which men educate their response and learn to control their environment. In this view liberty is the name we give to measures by which we protect and increase the veracity of the information upon which we act." (L&N, 40)

This review understands 'Liberty and the News' as the expression of a conflicted genius. On the one hand, Lippmann knew that democracy and scientific government depend absolutely on unrestricted access to accurate information. "There can be no higher law in journalism," he wrote, "than to tell the truth and shame the devil." (L&N, 7) On the other hand, Lippmann knew that the rivers of information from which Americans drink all spring from a poisoned fount. Human nature, he knew, drives some journalists to lie about the facts in exchange for money, position, prestige. Other journalists, afflicted with a more insidious form of the same disease, unknowingly turn fact into falsehood by filtering it through a fabric of personal perception, be that perception enlightened or benighted.

The late Hunter S. Thompson once observed that "journalism is a low profession." Reading 'Liberty and the News,' one sees clearly that Lippmann would have agreed with Thompson but yet recognized and held fast to a higher truth, namely: There is no other way forward.

Democracy depends upon access to good information. Not to put words in anyone else's mouth, this review observes that there's more to the story than just that. Civilization itself cannot long endure where truth is absent, where nothing is real, where everyone knows that no one can be trusted. Civilization is not some mere contract that can be broken with impunity and the mess cleaned up by lawyers. Civilization describes a trajectory: the more we know, the more we can trust, the farther away from superstition and barbarism we move. The reverse is also true: the less we know, the less we can trust, the farther we fall back toward superstition and barbarism. Lippmann understood that if the truth must be told, then someone must do the telling. We must have journalism, he concluded, and so journalism must be reformed.

Lippmann used 'Liberty and the News' to call for objective truth in journalism but did not stop there. Though he preferred that journalism be self-regulating, he strongly hinted that the regulation of journalism might prove necessary. "The regulation of the publishing business is a subtle and elusive matter," he argued, "and only by an early and sympathetic effort to deal with great evils can the more sensible minds retain their control. If publishers and authors do not face the facts and attempt to deal with them, some day Congress, in a fit of temper, egged on by an outraged public opinion, will operate on the press with an ax. For somehow the community must find a way of making the men who publish news accept responsibility for an honest effort not to misrepresent the facts." (L&N, 45)

Lippmann also suggested the creation of impartial national and international news bureaus staffed by the finest reporters in the profession. His assertion that "it would be a great gain if the accountability of publishers could be increased" (L&N, 44) implies a belief that a license to practice journalism would not be out of order. He advocated better education for journalists and marveled that those who cannot be led to tell the truth cannot be locked in jail: "If I lie in a lawsuit involving the fate of my neighbor's cow," he wrote, "I can go to jail. But if I lie to a million readers in a matter involving war and peace, I can lie my head off and, if I choose the right series of lies, be entirely irresponsible. Nobody will punish me. . . ." (L&N, 24)

"At any rate," Lippmann concluded, "our salvation lies in two things: ultimately, in the infusion of the news-structure by men with a new training and outlook; immediately, in the concentration of the independent forces against the complacency and bad service of the routineers. We shall advance when we have learned humility; when we have learned to see the truth, to reveal it and publish it; when we care more for that than for the privilege of arguing about ideas in a fog of uncertainty." (L&N, 61)

There is much more worth having in 'Liberty and the News' and, for all who think seriously about what Lippmann wrote, there is much to carry away. To read in this little book the carefully arranged thoughts of the finest mind in twentieth-century journalism -- a mind shaped in what was then one of the world's finest schools (Harvard), where it was polished by the likes of George Santayana and William James -- is by itself worth the price of admission.

The nadir of Princeton's reprint of 'Liberty and the News' is Sidney Blumenthal's Afterword.

This review does not object to Blumenthal's short list of Lippmann's sins. Among others Blumenthal mentions: "His immersion in politics while holding forth as a disinterested observer. . . ." (L&N, 63) Blumenthal's account of Lippmann's ultimate failure, of his ideals being "traduced, trampled and trashed" (L&N, 64) by journalists and journalism is wholly pertinent. But then Blumenthal throws in a lively and interesting account of events leading up to the mess in which we presently find ourselves, beginning with press coverage of 'Tailgunner Joe' McCarthy and ending with the outrageously un-American behavior of the press during the outrageously un-American administration of George W. Bush.

It is at that point that this writer objects to Blumenthal, who was himself a player in the public-relations effort of the Clinton administration. The Clintons, as the whole world knows, ran one of the most outrageous lie factories on record. Sidney Blumenthal's experiences and observations from inside that rats' nest would have made a juicy addition to his otherwise fine Afterword. Sadly, his experience and his observations get no mention here. Blumenthal's account focuses entirely on Republicans, the Republican Party, and the Bush administration. Having an opportunity that cries out for a 'mea culpa,' Blumenthal passed and gave us a 'theya culpa'.

I suppose this is all too much: why make such a fuss over a measly afterword? I'm making a fuss anyway because I see that, with this Afterword, Blumenthal personifies the state of mainstream journalism. Having helped (during the Clinton administration) bring the profession to ruin and (at the end of Liberty and the News) having rhetorically interred the ideas and ideals of journalism's foremost saint, Blumenthal stands clueless amid the carnage and expresses an idiot's hope for the future: ". . . journalism may yet be revitalized," he wrote, "as part of a general reawakening of American democracy that discovers new forms of expression and forces new debate to achieve its ends." (L&N, 87-88)

What rot! After airing Lippmann's dirty linen, Blumenthal cannot bear to bare his own spotted shorts. Ever the good Democrat, he cannot set aside his political bias and tell us -- or even mention -- a tale of the Clinton spin machine. One wonders if Blumenthal is pathologically unconscious of the truth about the Clinton White House and one suspects that if we forget about Walter Lippmann and rely upon the likes of Sidney Blumenthal to lead us down the path to democracy, the Blumenthals of this world will lead us to something else.

There may yet be a "reawakening of American democracy," and new media may appear. "New forms of expression," however, will never appear. The root form of expression must be and therefore always has been language: spoken, written, manual, transmitted to the brain by hot, throbbing hormones -- any medium of human communication, any "new form of expression" will ultimately rely upon language or communication will not occur. Any medium of human communication, any "new form of expression" used by liars will lie to us just like the media, just like the "forms of expression" we've already got.

Jesus taught: ". . . know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) Lippmann knew that lesson: 'Liberty and the News' is his testament. Blumenthal, it seems, is vaguely aware of the argument. At the conclusion of his Afterword, he quotes James Madison: "A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." (L&N, 88)

Were Blumenthal properly armed (Thank you, Mr. Madison.) he might see Lippmann's effort and its failure as a tragedy, exactly in the mode of 'Oedipus Rex' or 'Antigone'. He might also have pointed practitioners -- especially youngsters -- to an irony of a spiritual sort that Lippmann's thought and career impart: Those who come to journalism determined to change the profession will fail and will instead be changed by the profession in ways they will not like. Those who come to journalism determined to tell the truth, if they remain committed to truth-telling, will change the profession over time whether they meant to change it or not. That irony aside, Lippmann convinces this reader (at least) that a "reawakened American democracy" (if ever one appears) will have to enact regulation that "forces new debate" because it rewards truth-telling and punishes the lie.

The Princeton reprint of 'Liberty and the News' is good stuff. Journalists, those who aspire to journalism, useful citizens of any democracy have every reason to read Walter Lippmann. Speaking strictly to journalists: 'Liberty and the News' gives old hands an excuse to reminisce their college days; rookies get something new to stretch their minds; everyone gets something important (for a change) to argue about when they're drunk.
Welen
This is a short book reissued by the Princeton University Press 88 years after its original publication.
Lippmann argues for information that is honest, not created out of dishonesty and untruth. In current day terms, Lippmann favors information without spin. He argues also for journalism and journalists to be professional, and for the information they dispense to be fact, not fiction.

A fiery afterword by journalist and former White House adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, derides journalism and its failures during the White House administration of George W. Bush.
Steelcaster
The scanning done is horrible. The pages are cut and they are not arranged sequentially. I can read enough to know that could I read the full book, I would have loved it. So now I go buy the paper back.

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