Carefully documenting the deceptions and excesses of television news coverage of the so-called cocaine epidemic, Cracked Coverage stands as a bold indictment of the backlash politics of the Reagan coalition and its implicit racism, the mercenary outlook of the drug control establishment, and the enterprising reporting of crusading journalism. Blending theoretical and empirical analyses, Jimmie L. Reeves and Richard Campbell explore how TV news not only interprets "reality" in ways that reflect prevailing ideologies, but is in many respects responsible for constructing that reality. Their examination of the complexity of television and its role in American social, cultural, and political conflict is focused specifically on the ways in which American television during the Reagan years helped stage and legitimate the "war on drugs," one of the great moral panics of the postwar era.
The authors persuasively argue, for example, that powder cocaine in the early Reagan years was understood and treated very differently on television and by the state than was crack cocaine, which was discovered by the news media in late 1985. In their critical analysis of 270 news stories broadcast between 1981 and 1988, Reeves and Campbell demonstrate a disturbing disparity between the earlier presentation of the middle- and upper-class "white" drug offender, for whom therapeutic recovery was an available option, and the subsequent news treatment of the inner-city "black" drug delinquent, often described as beyond rehabilitation and subject only to intensified strategies of law and order. Enlivened by provocative discussions of Nancy Reagan's antidrug activism, the dramatic death of basketball star Len Bias, and the myth of the crack baby, the book argues that Reagan's war on drugs was at heart a political spectacle that advanced the reactionary agenda of the New and Religious Right--an agenda that dismissed social problems grounded in economic devastation as individual moral problems that could simply be remedied by just saying "no."
Wide ranging and authoritative, Cracked Coverage: Television News, the Anti-Cocaine Crusade, and the Reagan Legacy is a truly interdisciplinary work that will attract readers across the humanities and social sciences in addition to students, scholars, journalists, and policy makers interested in the media and drug-related issues.
From the launching of America's first newspaper to YouTube's latest phone-videoed crime, the media has always been guilty of indulging America's obsession with controversy. This encyclopedia covers 100 events in world history from the 17th century to the present--moments that alone were major and minor, but ones that exploded in the public eye when the media stepped in. Topics covered include yellow journalism, the War of the Worlds radio broadcast, the Kennedy-Nixon debates, JFK's assassination, the Pentagon papers, and Hurricane Katrina. These are events that changed the way the media is used--not just as a tool for spreading knowledge, but as a way of shaping and influencing the opinions and reactions of America's citizens. Thanks to the media's representations of these events, history has been changed forever. From classified military plans that leaked out to the public to the first televised presidential debates to the current military tortures caught on tape, 100 Media Moments That Changed America will demonstrate not only an ever-evolving system of news reporting, but also the ways in which historical events have ignited the media to mold news in a way that resonates with America's public. This must-have reference work is ideal for journalism and history majors, as well as for interested general readers.
Chapters are in chronological order, beginning with the 17th century. Each chapter starts with a brief introduction, followed by media event entries from that decade. Each entry explains the moment, and then delivers specific details regarding how the media covered the event, America's response to the coverage, and how the media changed history.
Al-Jazeera, the independent, all-Arab television news network based in Qatar, emerged as ambassador to the Arab world in the events following September 11, 2001. Arabic for "the island," Al-Jazeera has "scooped" the western media conglomerates many times. With its exclusive access to Osama Bin Laden and members of the Taliban, its reputation was burnished quickly through its exposure on CNN. During the 2003 war in Iraq, Al-Jazeera seemed to be everywhere, reporting dramatic stories and images, even as it strived to maintain its independence as an international free press news network. Al-Jazeera sheds light on the background of the network: how it operates, the programs it broadcasts, its effects on Arab viewers, the reactions of the West and Arab states, the implications for the future of news broadcasting in the Middle East, and its struggle for a free press and public opinion in the Arab world.
In recent years, communication scholars have taken a renewed interest in analyzing the audience and its impact on the communication process. Similarly, news editors and producers have often turned toward a marketing orientation which seeks to give new readers and viewers what they want, or at least what they say they want. Yet, there has still been little written about just how the audience factors into the news which is produced. Seeking to fill that niche, this book argues that audience images are quite important in the construction of news, but not easily detected. That is because journalists are not principally interested in their audience; they are interested in the news.USE THIS PARAGRAPH ONLY FOR GENERAL CATALOGS... This volume argues that although journalistic images of the audience may be "incomplete," they do exist and powerfully help shape the work of journalists in producing journalistic texts. Using a case study of news workers and news texts at two Chicago newsgathering organizations, the Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV, this book:
* examines notions of audience and how they have been treated by academicians,
* presents a detailed description of the ways in which audience is embedded within the news construction process,
* presents a very representative set of journalistic news values,
* presents differing ideas of audience at three key levels of the news organizations -- reporters and news gatherers, editors and producers, and senior editors, producers, and news directors, and
* seeks to summarize and position this study within the larger body of mass communication research.
"We are not giving the public what it needs. Far too often we take the official line. We live and die by the size of our audience; we dumb down the news to pump up the ratings. I have reported on world events close-up for almost four decades. And I have never felt as frustrated as I have in the past few years. Why? Because TV news has a critical job to do. And we are falling down on the job."--Thomas Fenton In his long journalistic experience as the senior European correspondent for CBS News, Tom Fenton has reported on everything from the fall of the Shah of Iran to the movements of al Qaeda throughout Europe--a story he was tracking before 9/11. And in the three years since that fateful day, he has come to a sobering realization: Our once-noble news media--and network TV news in particular--have abdicated their responsibility to the American people, and endangered us and our democracy in the process. As Fenton points out, much of the United States still depends on the networks for most of its information about the world. But after the fall of the Soviet Union, the networks gutted their news-gathering operations--just as the old Cold War status quo was shattering --leaving behind an unstable and violent new world order. Once a public service, the network news was commandeered by its corporate parents as a cash cow. In-depth reporting on critical issues was replaced with saturation coverage of sensationalistic crime stories and simpleminded "news you can use." Even as genocide spread through Africa--and Islamic terror festered in the Middle East--international reporting disappeared almost entirely from the airwaves. And Americans were left uninformed, unable to judge the accuracy of politically biased stories (on both sides of the spectrum), and utterly unprepared for the war on terror about to descend on their doorstep. In Bad News, Tom Fenton offers a fiery indictment of just how far "the news" has fallen. As a frequent voice in the wilderness himself--who fought in vain to interest CBS in an Osama bin Laden interview in the 1990s--Fenton reveals a news-gathering environment gutted by corporate bottom-lining bottom-feeders, staffed by dilatory producers and executives (who dismissed important stories as depressing or obscure), and dangerously dependent on images and information gathered by third-party sources. In hard-hitting interviews with Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, and Tom Brokaw, he exposes how even the anchors themselves believed they were outlandishly compensated--while quality coverage was being slashed. And he charges that the news media must lose its entertainment-industry mindset and reestablish its role as a keeper of the public trust.
Transplanting Southern roots to southern Africa, Ginger Mauney has earned the acceptance of a troop of baboons, unraveled mysteries of life and death in an elephant herd, and raised her young son in the wilds of Etosha National Park. During her career as a television journalist, Sara James paid her own way to cover the war in Nicaragua, exposed slavery in Sudan, plunged to the grave site of the Titanic, but struggled to balance work with marriage and motherhood. Though the two lead seemingly opposite lives, there is much they share. A hometown in Richmond, Virginia, an attraction to life on the razor's edge, and a past. Now, in this heartfelt memoir, Sara and Ginger alternately narrate the story of their twenties, thirties, and forties through the lens of a friendship that has spanned thousands of miles and more than thirty years, and reveal how they dared to reinvent their lives, just as it seemed that everything was falling apart.--Gwendolyn Bounds, author of Little Chapel on the River: A Pub, A Town, and the Search for What Matters Most