American Journalism and Post-truth (The brief description of the book)
The first chapter “Journalism at a crossroads: The post-truth world and fake news” deals with the current challenges of U.S. journalism such as post-truth and fake news. They are seen through the lens of history, with the author arguing that these problems are not new. Forgeries and conspiracy theories were commonplace in ancient and medieval times as well as in Tsarist Russia in the XIX century, before and after the 1917 revolution. The chapter deals with nine factors that create the fertile ground for fake news and post-truth as well as the ways of how to fight them.
The second part “Opinion Journalism in Today’s Information Space” analyzes the role of opinions in U.S. media through the lens of objectivity and the ethics. It gives the definitions of “editorial”, “column”, “Op-Ed” and describes the ethics codes of the Anglo-Saxons journalism, with their insistence on drawing the line between news and commentaries. The main questions are to what extent opinions help audiences to navigate in the post-truth world and where is a fine line between well-balanced columns and those ones that manipulate public discourse.
The third chapter “Russia’s Image in The New York Time and Content Analysis” shows how the image of Russia has been evolving in U.S. media since the 1860s. Afterwards, the author explains the methodology of content analysis of The New York Times’ columns on Russia, published from 2010 to 2017. He presents its quantitative results by counting these articles and their characteristics and ranging them on negative, balanced and positive. Qualitatively, the analysis focuses on the articles’ semantics and linguistic technics that editors, staff writers and contributors of The New York Times use to describe Russia and express their attitude toward its policy.
The fourth chapter “Fact-based journalism vs. Opinion journalism” is based on nine expert interviews. It contains the responses to the book’s key questions: Does objectivity exist in today’s journalism? Can the opinion page be balanced? Is the Op-Ed section of The New York Times fair? Can columns and editorials be effective in curbing fake news and post-truth, or do opinions hamper the fact-based journalism by boosting relativism and causing the growth of propaganda? The author provides the full transcripts of the interviews, with the conclusions summed up in the tables.