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From Quills to Tweets: How America Communicates about War and Revolution, Andrea J. Dew, Marc A. Genest and S.C.M. Paine

Reviewed by James J. Wirtz

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The myriad communication channels made possible by the Information Revolution have created a situation that would have given Foucault pause. Information now comes packaged in a partisan wrapper designed to appeal to a specific political demographic. One would expect politicians to advance and protect their partisan interests—to “spin” the news, so to speak. Nevertheless, today’s media no longer seems to filter the “spin” to uncover the “facts” at hand. Instead, it accelerates partisan debate by placing events in a context that appeals to the pet politics of the targeted audience. It is hard not to feel nostalgia for the good old days when it was difficult to discern the political predilections of television journalists. The nightly news coverage on the networks pretty much looked the same before the advent of cable television, the internet, and individuals’ access to global communication capabilities.

The contributors to this finely crafted collection of essays edited by Andrea J. Dew, Marc A. Genest, and S.C.M. Paine, however, make a convincing case that nostalgia for some golden age of journalism is misplaced. They demonstrate that since the American Revolution, the actors that master and control the dominant means of mass communication of their day w

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