War and Press Freedom: The Problem of Prerogative Power

Paperback | January 1, 1999

byJeffery A. Smith

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War and Press Freedom: The Problem of Prerogative Power is a groundbreaking and provocative study of one of the most perplexing civil liberties issues in American history: What authority does or should the government have to control press coverage and commentary in wartime? First Amendmentscholar Jeffery A. Smith shows convincingly that no such extraordinary power exists under the Constitution, and that officials have had to rely on claiming the existence of an autocratic "higher law" of survival. Smith carefully surveys the development of statutory restrictions and militaryregulations for the news media from the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791 through the Gulf War of 1991. He concludes that the armed forces can justify refusal to divulge a narrow range of defense secrets, but that imposing other restrictions is unwise, unnecessary, and unconstitutional. Inany event, as electronic communication becomes almost impossible to constrain, soldiers and journalists must learn how to respect each other's obligations in a democratic system.

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War and Press Freedom: The Problem of Prerogative Power is a groundbreaking and provocative study of one of the most perplexing civil liberties issues in American history: What authority does or should the government have to control press coverage and commentary in wartime? First Amendmentscholar Jeffery A. Smith shows convincingly tha...

Jeffery A. Smith is a professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Iowa.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 5.98 × 9.09 × 0.98 inPublished:January 1, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019509946X

ISBN - 13:9780195099461

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Table of Contents

I. Intentions and Interpretations1. War, Autocracy, and the Constitution2. The Purpose of the Press Clause3. Suspending the Press ClauseII. "Higher Law" in Practice4. The Federalists and the French Revolution5. The Rise of Presidential Prerogatives6. The Bureaucratization of Wartime Censorship7. The Long, Cold WarIII. The Risks of Repression8. The Mass Media: Scapegoats and SycophantsConclusionNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"[An] impressive study of press censorship... [A] thoroughly researched and eloquently argued polemic on the excesses of censorship during times of war. A readble book that will find its way into undergraduate and graduate history, law and press courses. Smith's study should also be read andits footnotes mined by scholars of the fields it touches... We realize the importance of Smith's impressive book and its forcefully argued conclusion: that the resolve in the Founders' writing about press freedom has been substantially and cumulatively weakened by successive overreactions toperceived wartime threats."--American Historical Review