The complaint is all too common: I know something about that, and the news got it wrong. Why this should be, and what it says about the relationship between journalism and truth, is exactly the question that is at the core of Tom Goldstein's very timely book. Other disciplines, Goldstein tells us, have clear protocols for gathering evidence and searching for truth. Journalism, however, has some curious conventions that may actually work against such a goal. Looking at how journalism has changed over time - and with it, notions about accuracy and truth in reporting - Goldstein explores how these long-standing and ultimately untrustworthy conventions developed. He also examines why reliable standards of objectivity and accuracy are critical not just to a free press but to the democratic society it informs and serves. From a historical overview to a reconsideration of a misunderstood book about journalism (""The Journalist and the Murderer"") to a reflection on the coverage of the war in Iraq, his book offers a remarkably wide-ranging and thought-provoking account of how journalism and truth work - or fail to work - together, and why it matters.
Tom Goldstein is a professor of journalism and mass communications and director of the Mass Communications Program at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of The News at Any Cost (Touchstone, 1986) and A Two-Faced Press (Twentieth Century Fund, 1986), co-author of The Lawyer's Guide to Writing Well (California, 2002), and the editor of Killing the Messenger: 100 Years of Media Criticism (Columbia, 1991). Howard Baker is a former U.S. Senator, Presidential Chief of Staff, and U.S. Ambassador as well as former vice chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee. He is also the author of No Margin for Error: America in the Eighties (Times Books, 1980), Howard Baker's Washington: An Intimate Portrait of the Nation's Capital City (Norton, 1984), and Scott's Gulf (Bridgestone/Firestone, 2000).