Froth and Scum Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and the Ax Murder in America's First Mass Medium

ISBN-10: 0807844721
ISBN-13: 9780807844724
Edition: 1994
Authors: Andie Tucher
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Description: Two notorious antebellum New York murder casesa prostitute slashed in an elegant brothel and a tradesman bludgeoned by the brother of inventor Samuel Coltset off journalistic scrambles over the meanings of truth, objectivity, and the duty of the  More...

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Book details

List price: $35.00
Copyright year: 1994
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 11/18/1994
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 266
Size: 6.12" wide x 9.25" long x 0.65" tall
Weight: 0.968
Language: English

Two notorious antebellum New York murder casesa prostitute slashed in an elegant brothel and a tradesman bludgeoned by the brother of inventor Samuel Coltset off journalistic scrambles over the meanings of truth, objectivity, and the duty of the press that reverberate to this day. In 1833 an entirely new kind of newspapercheap, feisty, and politically independentintroduced American readers to the novel concept of what has come to be called objectivity in news coverage. The penny press was the first medium that claimed to present the true, unbiased facts to a democratic audience. But inFroth and Scum, Andie Tucher exploresand explodesthe notion that 'objective' reporting will discover a single, definitive truth. As they do now, news stories of the time aroused strong feelings about the possibility of justice, the privileges of power, and the nature of evil. The prostitute's murder in 1836 sparked an impassioned public debate, but one newspaper's 'impartial investigation' pleased the powerful by helping the killer go free. Colt's 1841 murder of the tradesman inspired universal condemnation, but the newspapers' singleminded focus on his conviction allowed another secret criminal to escape. By examining media coverage of these two sensational murders, Tucher reveals how a community's needs and anxieties can shape its public truths. The manuscript of this book won the 1991 Allan Nevins Prize of the Society of American Historians for the best-written dissertation in American history.

Andie Tucher, editorial producer of The Twentieth Century documentary series at ABC News, was a Clinton campaign speechwriter. She lives in New York.

Acknowledgments
Prologue
fighting For The Truth
The Penny Press is Born
On Public Duty
Who Was Aspasia?
Who Killed Helen Jewett?
Truth or Humbuggery
The Truth About Humbug
Murderous Conventions
Getting Away with Murder
The End of the Affair
from Humbug To Authority
Death of a Printer
A New Face
A War of Morals A Clash of Cultures
For the Virtuous And Refined
Greeley Expounds on a Murder
The Human Race Advances
The New, Improved Herald--Misses a Story
In Search Of James Gordon Fishblatt
Epilogue
Notes
Sources
Index

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