When the press loses sight of truth and falls prey to bias, American press critics push back to safeguard our free and democratic nation.
Journalists are no strangers to criticism and some have even seen disagreements turn to outrage and acts of violence. There is another history of press criticism, though. This one as a rule doesn’t resort to physical threat or denunciation. Nevertheless, it can be merciless when critics think the press has become too slanted in one direction, has fallen short of some ideal, is too concentrated for its own good, or seems to be underreporting or ignoring some critical story of the day.
Shame the Devil is a sweeping look at this other history. Beginning with Walter Lippmann, rightly regarded as the first modern press critic, Shame the Devil provides a chapter-by-chapter profile and analysis of his successors. Many critics work within the profession of journalism, while some consider it from the outside. These include: George Seldes, A. J. Liebling, Ben Bagdikian, Reed Irvine, Neil Postman, and Noam Chomsky. A concluding chapter brings together a diverse group of contemporary critics, including Sharyl Attkisson, Brooke Gladstone, Eric Deggans, Amy Goodman, Janine Jackson, and Candace Owens.
Merging history, biography, and a candid analysis of various critical points of view, Shame the Devil moves from press commentary in the bitter aftermath of World War I to the head-spinning paradoxes of the post-truth era. Throughout, some of America’s best critics contend with both the big events of their day and the big issues of journalism to ask the always vital question: How can the press help to create and sustain a more democratic society?