WHO STOLE THE NEWS? by Mort Rosenblum


Why We Can't Keep Up With What Happens in the World and What We Can Do About It
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 Having filed dispatches from more than 150 countries in the course of a lengthy career with the AP, Rosenblum (Back Home, 1989, etc.) developed some strong opinions on the state of the news business. Here, he shares these views in a critique notable for anecdotal (often antic) asides on the occupational hazards routinely faced by foreign correspondents. Rosenblum contends that only journalists can ``provide citizens with an independent account of what might affect their good name, their treasure and, in the extreme, their sons and daughters.'' He asserts that a great deal of reportage from abroad is short-circuited by censors, spiked by editors (wrongly convinced that their audiences care mainly about local events), or aborted at the behest of budget-minded executives. If an apathetic public fails to complain about such losses, the author charges, it must share the blame. Feedback from readers or viewers is taken seriously, he insists, and can prove surprisingly effective in changing the status quo. Pointing out that significant international news sneaks out of dark alleys more often than it breaks, Rosenblum maintains that Americans have a national interest in everything that ``disturbs the planet, even if the connection is less obvious than oil fields.'' In this context, he offers perceptive commentary on the media's various branches (dailies, magazines, radio, TV, wire services, etc.) and rates their performance in covering major stories from Afghanistan to Zaire. As a print man, the Paris-based author instinctively distrusts TV's pictorial simplicities. Conceding that the fourth estate is more hound than watchdog, though, he acknowledges that, when the cameras turn away, policy professionals in Washington or other capital cities are largely free to set their own agendas. A lively, thoughtful call to bridge the information gaps that make the world a more dangerous place than it need be.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-471-58522-X
Page count: 300pp
Publisher: Wiley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1993


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