Press Professionalization and Propaganda: The Rise of Journalistic Double-Mindedness, 1917-1941


Press Professionalization and Propaganda: The Rise of Journalistic Double-Mindedness, 1917-1941



Increasingly, Americans are turning away from the traditional press--especially newspapers--for the news of the day. In fact, by May 2009 a Pew survey revealed that 63 percent of Americans said they would not miss their paper if it ceased publishing. Other surveys have revealed that since the late 1990s, Americans have significant concerns about the mainstream news media's credibility, with no less than 56 percent voicing reservations about the press's accuracy. At the same time, the mainstream news has continued to show a proclivity for using information proffered by public relations sources; in fact, some studies point to newsrooms that use such propaganda materials for up to 75-80 percent of their stories. As traditional newsrooms continue to either downsize (or, in some cases, disappear) and propaganda materials proliferate, the American public will continue to encounter difficulties obtaining from journalism the accurate and relevant information it needs to make informed decisions within our democracy. Current scholarship about journalism's increasing problems with relevancy often focuses on explorations of the advent of new media technologies and/or journalism's dysfunctional business models. Although those studies are important, they tend toward a presentism that ignores dilemmas that derive from the enduring ways that the press gathers and constructs news. This book argues that the problem of press relevancy can be traced to historical groundings that continue to inform newsroom practices. Specifically, it makes the distinctive claim that modern journalism's own professionalism has made the press prone to using propaganda materials, thus contributing to increasing news media irrelevance. ... []



Publication Date



Cambria Press


Amherst, NY


Government and the press, Journalism objectivity, Press and propaganda, United States


Journalism Studies | United States History