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Mightier than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History

Book Description

In this engaging examination of the media’s influence on US history and politics, Rodger Streitmatter visits sixteen landmark episodes, from the American Revolution to the present-day fight for gay and lesbian marriage equality. In each of these cases, Streitmatter succinctly illustrates the enormous role that journalism has played in not merely recording this nation’s history but also in actively shaping it. Mightier than the Sword offers students and professors a highly readable and accessible alternative to journalism history textbooks. Instead of trying to document every detail in the development of US media through dry, dull lists of names, dates, and headlines, this book focuses on sixteen discrete episodes that illustrate a point that is much larger than the sum of their parts: media have played and continue to play an enormous role in shaping this nation. The fourth edition features an entirely new chapter on the way US media have championed various gay and lesbian rights initiatives, from the 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas sodomy case through the June 2013 Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act). Balancing criticism and celebration of news media and exploring both print and electronic platforms, Mightier than the Sword provides students with a sense of the power and responsibility inherent in the institution of journalism.