This book is a challenge to the establishment of journalism.
Author Margaret Sullivan wants to hold her colleagues, particularly those at the New York Times, accountable for the way they covered the recent US presidential election campaigns and all that followed.
Her unflinching commitment to truth and ethics shines through in the book, which make me admire her greatly.
In this bracing memoir, Newsroom Confidential, Sullivan traces her life in journalism and how trust in the mainstream press has steadily eroded. She argues that traditional ideas about reportorial objectivity need to be re-examined in an era of constant assaults on truth.
The most urgent question she reviews is how to cover openly anti-democratic politicians.
“As our democratic norms foundered,” she writes toward the end of her book, “much of the mainstream press was asleep at the switch, and seemed perfectly content to stay that way.”
Sullivan decided on a journalism career early on, inspired — like many of her peers — by the work of Woodward and Bernstein during the Watergate Scandal in the early 1970s.