Very patchy... I really enjoyed Gladstone's exploration of the history of journalism. The first publication of community news was written by scribes of the Egyptian pharoes, for PR purposes. Bad events could be blamed on the pharoe's enemies, and good events could be credited to his fair leadership.
Skipping ahead, the book delves into trends and biases in the media.
It's a bit disheartening that Gladstone's conclusions at the end of the book are that the public essentially has the quality journalism it deserves. If I follow her correctly, she's saying the public has the burden of demanding the sort of "Fourth Estate" journalism which speaks truth to power, and which holds our public and private institutions to account, which asks hard questions and pursues the answers doggedly. Unfortunately, when our journalists fail in this charge, it isn't always clear to the public. An easily understood lie often supplants difficult and nuanced truths.. and when it does, how is the public to know? We often don't find out (if at all) until much, much later. Sometimes, the truth is learned too late to reverse bad public decisions, like the decision to go to war in 2003. To say the public got the journalism they deserved in that circumstance strikes me as a case of "blaming the victim". Ms. Gladstone seems to be telling journalists they can be as slack, lackadaisical , and biased as they can get away with. That is the sad effect our profit-driven media has sunk to. What we need is an idealism, an allegiance to an idea of Truth and the notion of journalism as a noble calling.