Enemy of the People: Trump’s War on the Press, the New McCarthyism, and the Threat to American Democracy

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“I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you [journalists] write negative stories about me, no one will believe you” is what Donald Trump is reported to have said to author Marvin Kalb, among others. Kalb is one of the last surviving “Murrow boys”—reporters mentored in journalism Edward R. Murrow himself—and, as he explains, he paused in the writing of his memoir to compose this book, Enemy of the People. Because Kalb developed his journalistic career in the shadow of the McCarthy trials and Cold War, he’s particularly aware of the warning signs of authoritarianism and the stirrings of anti-democratic practices. The best case for America, as we currently sit, he argues, is that Trump’s actions in office merely dilute our democracy. The worst case is that those actions break it.

Kalb’s treatise is thoughtful and observant, a keen analysis of the current state of the media and its relationship to government and power. Kalb can be a tad too generous to the world of media journalism. He carries with him a view of journalism formed when journalism was in a very different stage of development—an earlier incarnation of journalism whose principles are rapidly shifting. But overall, this is a smart and enjoyable essay from a decorated veteran journalist and a keen, enlightening read.

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Star Count 4.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 180 pages
Publisher Brookings Institution Press
Publish Date 2018-Sep-25
ISBN 9780815735304
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue January 2019
Category Current Events & Politics


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