Jon Marshall, an associate professor of Journalism, discusses the media in the context of his book “CLASH: Presidents and the Press in Times of Crisis.”
Jon Marshall on the media
Jon Marshall is an associate professor at the Medill School of Journalism, Media Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. He is the author of Watergate’s Legacy and the Press: The Investigative Impulse. His work has appeared in the New York Times, TheAtlantic.com, WashingtonPost.com, Christian Science Monitor, CBS News’ Public Eye, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, and other venues.
A seasoned journalist himself and a respected media historian, Jon Marshall is a fantastic resource for breaking news and political commentary and insight. Here are just some of the topics he can speak to:
- Trump’s toxic relationship with the press wasn’t unprecedented, but his poisonous attitude toward journalists has done lasting damage.
- For more than a century, presidents have increased their ability to ignore the press thanks to technologies that allow them to communicate directly to the public.
- Media partisanship and fragmentation, which began accelerating in the 1980s, have deepened America’s dangerous divisions over COVID, climate change, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other crucial issues.
- As non-journalists increasingly dominate America’s media diet, the New York Times, Washington Post, network newscasts, and other mainstream media outlets have a dwindling impact on the fate of presidents.
- Attacking the press has given presidents short-term gains, but it is a losing strategy in the end.
- Democracy is doomed unless we can revive the public’s trust in a fact-based news system and limit the power of propaganda, disinformation, and conspiracy theories.
CLASH: Presidents and the Press in Times of Crisis by Jon Marshall, is a timely look at the tumultuous relationship between presidents and the press and how that affects U.S. democracy.
While President Trump’s disdain for the press was not an anomaly, his vitriol for it in a world of social media allowed it to take on an entirely new life. But CLASH is not just about Trump; there are separate chapters for John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Throughout the book, what stands out is that these presidents all had their reasons for clashing with the press, whether justified or not. Now we find journalists in increasing danger of violence from a populace that has been told they are being lied to and that their leader is the prime target of those he calls enemies of the people out to do whatever it takes to bring him down. Not only does this endanger lives, it endangers democracy and the very principle of the First Amendment.
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