Cover: Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America, from Harvard University PressCover: Free Speech and Unfree News in HARDCOVER

Free Speech and Unfree News

The Paradox of Press Freedom in America

Add to Cart

Product Details


$41.00 • £32.95 • €37.00

ISBN 9780674659773

Publication Date: 03/14/2016


352 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


[Lebovic] argue[s] that the dominant conception of civil liberties is insufficiently ambitious. [He] worr[ies] that as formulated, civil liberties are as much a tool for the powerful as for the powerless… Offer[s] important correctives to the celebratory accounts of civil liberties that we so often tell ourselves.—David Cole, The New York Review of Books

[A] smart—and timely—book.—Nicole Hemmer, U.S. News and World Report

Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America appears at an opportune moment in history… This is a thorough historical analysis that highlights the tension between an American commitment to a narrow definition of press freedom and access to, and reporting of, news that contributes to democratic self-government. It is superbly organized and very readable.—Joseph Russomanno, Journalism & Mass Communications Quarterly

Examines the hazy relationship between press freedoms and the actual execution of the press’s democratic mission… An engaging, well-written book about an enduring problem in American democracy.—Jared Schroeder, Political Science Quarterly

Extremely original and well-written… [Lebovic] shows fascinating relationships among many different topics that have not previously been juxtaposed.—David M. Rabban, Reviews in American History

One of the virtues of Free Speech and Unfree News is its resurrection of mid-century arguments long buried by the conventional wisdom of the media industries…Those hoping for a happier history will have a hard time dismissing this book. Its research, both historical and legal, is broad and deep.—John Nerone, International Journal of Press/Politics

At every stop on this wide-ranging tour of twentieth-century America, Lebovic’s research is deep and persuasive…Free Speech and Unfree News is a splendid history of the travails of twentieth-century American journalism.—David Paul Nord, Journal of Social History

A deep examination of the legal, political, social, and cultural discussions of the role of the press in America in the twentieth century… It [offers] a narrative that is lacking in other classic press freedom books.—Daxton R. “Chip” Stewart, Journalism History

Interesting, nuanced, and thoughtful… A relevant and thought provoking book.—Bonnie Brennen, Journal of Communication

Lebovic’s book is compelling reading. Well researched and written, it does a masterful job of logically weaving together the legal, social, economic, and political threads that have created the fabric of American press freedom.—Karie Hollerbach, American Journalism

How could a nation proud of its commitment to free expression also be a place where journalists must scour through leaked documents to learn basic facts about government policies? Sam Lebovic’s spectacular and important book shows how the idea of a ‘right to know’ dropped out of twentieth-century understandings of the First Amendment. Essential for understanding what has become of an American free press.—Mary L. Dudziak, author of War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences

Provocative and stimulating. Lebovic shows that, although the American press has grown unusually free from government interference, it is constrained by the vast expansion of government secrecy and the intensification of the profit motive in the shifting news marketplace.—Michael Schudson, author of The Rise of the Right to Know

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Number of the Heavens: A History of the Multiverse and the Quest to Understand the Cosmos, by Tom Siegfried, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with Tom Siegfried, author of The Number of the Heavens: A History of the Multiverse and the Quest to Understand the Cosmos

In The Number of the Heavens, Tom Siegfried, the award-winning former editor of Science News, shows that one of the most fascinating and controversial ideas in contemporary cosmology—the existence of multiple parallel universes—has a long and divisive history that continues to this day. We spoke to him about the possible existence of a multiverse and the co

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library ( extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.