NEWSMAKERS: The Press and the Presidents by

NEWSMAKERS: The Press and the Presidents

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A partly historical, partly issue-oriented look at the ""balance of power"" between two ""natural enemies,"" the press and the presidency. More evasive and inconclusive than objective, the authors are seemingly concerned about the supreme court's okay on subpoenaing reporters' notes, but deplore the power of instant analysts, who can immediately ""start undoing all the things (the president) has just said,"" and are especially resentful of the young, independent editors and the TV newsmen (showing ghetto riots, the Vietnam war, crime, etc., following a reformist president's claim that he is ""doing wonders for the country"") who ""helped drive President Johnson out of office."" However they acknowledge that Agnew went ""too far"" in trying to intimidate newscasters and Kennedy is quoted approvingly as saying that disaster might have been averted if the New York Times had not honored his request to keep the Bay of Pigs plans secret. The chief problem is that issues are raised but not examined, and platitudes about freedom of speech often substitute for analysis. We are told that a press secretary's ""goal is to see that the president gets a 'good press'. However a press secretary cannot run a propaganda bureau in our democracy,"" but the frequently fine distinction between the two concepts is not pursued. Though the subject is of current interest and thus perhaps justifies purchase, the first incisive examination at the middle school level will render this inoperative.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1974
Page count: 126pp
Publisher: Addison-Wesley