News and the Culture of Lying: How Journalism Really Works

Paul Weaver, Author Free Press $22.95 (243p) ISBN 978-0-02-934021-9
Weaver, a former writer and editor for Fortune magazine, here argues that ``journalists and officials fabricate an alternate reality.'' His censure of traditional journalism is itself a fairly traditional critique. His principal accusations--that the media lie by feigning objectivity, and that newsmakers lie by pretending to ignore media attention--have been voiced by numerous media critics. What distinguishes Weaver's contentions is that he frames his case in constitutional terms. To him, ``Pulitzerian journalism'' is ``an engine of drift and decline'' that obliterates the constitutional principles of law and community responsibility. The last chapter lists nine directions for pursuing constitutional journalism; among them, avoid crisis reporting and think of readers rather than advertisers. Despite such practical counsel, the book reads as a neoconservative harangue against a liberal media elite. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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