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By Neil Henry

In this vividly written, compelling narrative, award-winning journalist Neil Henry confronts the hindrance dealing with expert journalism during this period of speedy technological transformation. American Carnival combines parts of memoir with wide media examine to discover severe modern concerns starting from reporting at the Iraq warfare, to American race family members, to the exploitation of a dead ringer for journalism by means of advertisers and politicians. Drawing on major currents in U.S. media and social heritage, Henry argues that, given the quantity of fraud in lots of associations in American lifestyles at the present time, the decline of journalistic professionalism sparked by means of the industrial problem of recent Media poses particularly critical implications for democracy. As more and more alarming tales floor approximately unethical practices, American Carnival makes a stirring case for journalism as a calling that's important to a loose society, a occupation that's extra worthwhile than ever in a electronic age marked by way of startling attacks at the cultural primacy of truth.

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Yet we hear little about the similarly sinister frauds committed on institutional levels, the booming business in advertorials pretending to serve as real “news” or the well-paid fakers who sell all manner of products and political causes in the guise of journalism—often with the complicity of the news industry—precisely because a presumed credibility is the journalist’s most valuable asset. I began to picture significant parts of the news industry, in its myriad forms, as a kind of old-style traveling carnival show packed with entertaining illusions, misdirections, and masquerades, where more and more the show itself is the most important end, a theater of thrills and spills and wonders driven by sensation, myth, propaganda, and stereotype, and not necessarily by the truth.

I admired the young woman’s skills: she had been a terrific student during her two years at the University of California at Berkeley, with a talent for interviewing sources and researching court records and a commitment to professional values such as accuracy, fairness, and the importance of maintaining a moral conscience about right and wrong. When I heard she was visiting the Bay Area, I invited her to speak to a large undergraduate lecture class I was teaching that semester. ” During her visit to my class, the young woman showed video clips of a few of her news stories, including a serious one about a murder investigation and a feature about the spring weather.

16 THE SHOW As I monitored these disparate occurrences in my role as a teacher of professional news reporting and writing, working in a realm far removed from the world of daily journalism and the revolutionary technology sweeping it, and as I tried to piece it all together as part of a larger common fabric, I kept coming back to a single descriptive term—fraud—for the complex body of transgressions I was witnessing. I began to see more work in the news media that masqueraded as professional journalism but that in fact was quite the opposite.

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