The First Amendment and the Media in the Court of Public Opinion

The First Amendment and the Media in the Court of Public Opinion

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In light of recent frustrations with the press over its increasingly sensationalistic coverage of the news, no liberty is more vulnerable to the vagaries of the current political climate than is 'freedom of the press'. By considering public opinion data from two original surveys (in 1997 and 1999) on free press rights against the backdrop of modern First Amendment jurisprudence, we offer new and original insights into the nature of popular support for these rights. Our findings are as comforting as they are counterintuitive: public support for the constitutional right to a free press remains as strong as ever, even as its most visible practitioners find themselves increasingly under siege. In offering this argument, we stake our position in an age-old debate over the true value and worth of public opinion. Our findings endorse the notion of a 'rational' public as well as the strength of press freedoms in our more

Product details

  • Online resource
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 7 b/w illus. 15 tables
  • 1139164821
  • 9781139164825

Review quote

"This book provides important and timely data on a subject vital to the public opinion and the First Amendment." The Law and Politics Book Review "Using two large random surveys conducted in 1997 and 1999 with the support of the Freedom Foundation, Yalof and Dautrich explore the attitudes of the general public toward freedom of expression in general and its specific application to the press and other information media...[T]he authors do an excellent job of presenting a theoretical background and context for their findings...Most useful for graduate, research, and professional collections." Choice "The authors' concern with the approaches that government should and should not develop toward political information takes on unusual importance today...Yalof and Dautrich's intriguing findings provide a valuable step in starting to bring the public into that discussion." Perspectives on Politics "the authors' work highlights some fascinating data and noteworthy conclusions. Particularly interesting is their analysis of public support for press freedoms across different media." - Bruce W. Sanfordshow more

Table of contents

1. Freedom of the press and the power of public opinion; 2. Surveying the public on press freedoms; 3. What Americans know about the freedom of the press; 4. Public support for press freedoms; 5. Support for press freedoms across media: comparing print, electronic and the 'new media'; 6. Support for press freedoms within a medium: elite, mainstream and tabloid news sources; 7. Public opinion, the first amendment and the challenges of the 21st more