About the Book

Mightier than the Sword

Mightier than the Sword

How the News Media Have Shaped American History
3rd Edition
December 2011
Trade Paperback · 336 Pages
$38.00 U.S. · $44.00 CAN · £25.99 U.K. · €26.99 E.U.
ISBN 9780813346304
Westview Press


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In this path-breaking book, Rodger Streitmatter takes readers on a sightseeing tour of American history as influenced by the public press, visiting sixteen landmark events in US history, from the American Revolution and the civil rights movement to Watergate and 9/11. These are events that stir the political imagination; but, as Streitmatter shows, they also demonstrate how American journalism, since the 1760s, has not merely recorded this nation’s history but has played a role in shaping it. This book is the first of its kind. Streitmatter avoids the mind-numbing lists of names, dates, and newspaper headlines that bog down the standard journalism history textbook. Instead, he focuses on a limited number of episodes, identifying common characteristics within the news media. The third edition includes an entirely new chapter on social media and the election of Barack Obama. This edition also looks beyond traditional journalistic outlets such as newspapers and television news reports to examine the modern-day role that the Internet and its various venues play in reporting the news and shaping history.

About the Author

Rodger Streitmatter is professor of journalism at American University. A journalist and historian, he is the author of several books and has contributed to numerous popular and scholarly periodicals, including The Washington Post, The Advocate, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, and American Journalism.