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The Camera Never Blinks Mass Market Paperback – September 12, 1987
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Chapter 1 is about his beginnings, and learning journalism at Sam Houston State Teacher's College at Huntsville TX. DR grew up in the Houston area, the oldest in the family. His father read a lot of newspapers. His college professor didn't "teach", he gave them assignments and kept them writing stories. Learning by doing certainly worked for DR. The rest of this chapter has interesting stories about his college life. Chapter 2 has DR at a CBS affiliate TV station in 1961. The most important ingredient was live local coverage; this attracts and holds viewers. DR was sent to cover Hurricane Carla on the gulf, the biggest and most dangerous of the century, which caused high tides and flooding rains. The warnings and the evacuation of 350,000 people, minimized the loss of lives. Afterwards DR was hired by CBS News, even if he didn't rescue a drowning horse (pp.47-8). Chapter 3 tells of his reporting from Oxford Miss on 9/30/1962 when James Meredith went to the University, and other places. Chapter 4 tells of his reporting on the civil rights issue. DR doubts the authenticity of the secret tapes on Dr ML King (p.101).
Chapter 5 tells of his assignment in Dallas on 11/22/1963. He was stationed beyond the triple underpass to pick up film; something happened and cars sped by. DR returned to the station to cover the news. This shows reporting behind th scenes (pp.124-8). After a confidential viewing of the Zapruder film, DR went back to the station and told of its contents (p.133). Checkbook Journalism? In England paying for news was a way of life (p.141). Magazines were doing it for years. Chapter 6 continues the reports from Dallas, and the behind the scenes events in news reporting. The conflict at the local TV station was resolved. DR then tells about his years as a foreign correspondent in London and elsewhere. Chapter 10 summarizes his year in Vietnam, 1965-6. "By the time the information is passed up the chain of command, everyone puts the best possible face on it." Chapter 11 starts with his meeting with HR Haldeman: DR was a "Lyndon Johnson, Texas liberal Democrat". No need for facts since they knew everything! His meeting with Erlichman and Haldeman (pp.248-9) does not honor this pair. Does it reflect unfavorably on Nixon's judgment? Page 250 tells of the effect of Chappaquiddick: Nixon moved further to the right. Was it an accident? After their loss in the 1970 elections Nixon used other Dirty Tricks to try to hang on to power.
Chapter 12 is about Watergate, "the greatest political story of your time". The Washington PD is closely controlled by the White House, as in a one-industry town. Page 264 tells of the coded questioning used with government sources: they won't lie, but they won't tell you anything unless you already know it. The story of President Nixon shoving Ron Ziegler, then denying it after the film was shown makes me wonder if Nixon was psychotic? That would explain some of his actions, and why he was pardoned (p.273). Chapter 13 says television news is a "headline service"; anyone who depends on it entirely for news is not doing their best. "Many Americans really do not want to be told what their government is doing, any more than they would want to know what went into the grinder to make the hot dog they are eating" (p.336). A rather sad commentary on some Americans! Do they deserve their higher taxes and perhaps illnesses? Page 338 tells why print is superior to broadcast in preserving the news.