Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism Has Transformed American Politics

Larry Sabato, Author Free Press $22.95 (306p) ISBN 978-0-02-927635-8
The U.S. media have progressed from the ``lapdog'' journalism of 1941-1966 through the ``watchdog'' journalism of 1966-1974 to the ``junkyard-dog'' journalism of the last 17 years, charges Sabato, professor of government at the University of Virginia. He blasts reporters and editors for printing known lies (``Jack Kemp is gay'') and overplaying attitudes that have nothing to do with public performance (Jimmy Carter's ``I have lusted in my heart''). In the rush to air or to print material first, Sabato argues, the media have often relied on rumor and gossip or have focused on irrelevant subjects like John Tower's alleged womanizing instead of significant matters like that senator's questionable dealings with major defense suppliers. Such practices have eroded journalism's credibility with the public, the author concludes, citing polls that show trust in the media to be at a low ebb. This provocative and controversial study suggests remedies that will strike readers as valuable but perhaps unrealistic. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
Paperback - 978-0-02-927636-5
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