A spirited attempt to define the lines of battle between those who want to control or suppress information and those who believe in the public's ""right to know."" Tracing the ""tradition of tyranny and official control of information"" from ancient times (the invention of writing) to the present (recent restrictions on the Freedom of Information Act; advertising's influence on editorial content), Weiss ventures to expose the wiles underlying a complex, multifaceted issue. Parallel to her elucidations of law and her explanations of certain concepts (such as ""prior restraint"" and ""seditious libel"") runs the related history of printing, publishing, and the media, including discussion of the impact of media conglomerates. Current events (Iran-contra, Hart's failed presidential bid) add a gossipy slant to the heated arguments. While offering clues to the mysterious ways of the media, Weiss' main accomplishment may be the important one of giving ""permission"" to question information and sources, and to withhold judgment of a particular version of a story as ""true."" The fundamental difference between truth (as in what's truly right or Wrong) and advocacy (as in the arenas of politics, ideology, even sports) is only implied here, rather than being clearly articulated. Bibliography; index.