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The Illusion of the Free Press

By: John Charney
Media of The Illusion of the Free Press
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Published: 28-05-2020
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 216
ISBN: 9781509938247
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £25.00
Online price : £22.50
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About The Illusion of the Free Press

This book explores the relationship between truth and freedom in the free press. It argues that the relationship is problematic because the free press implies a competition between plural ideas, whereas truth is univocal. Based on this tension the book claims that the idea of a free press is premised on an epistemological illusion. This illusion enables society to maintain that the world it perceives through the press corresponds to the world as it actually exists, explaining why defenders of the free press continue to rely on its capacity to discover the truth, despite economic conditions and technological innovations undermining much of its independence. The book invites the reader to reconsider the philosophical foundations, constitutional justifications, and structure and functions of the free press, and whether the institution can, in fact, realise both freedom and truth. It will be of great interest to anyone concerned in the role and value of the free press in the modern world.

Table Of Contents

1. Free Press: Necessary Illusions
I. Introduction
II. The Critique of the Political Economy of the Press
III. Technological Progress and the Construction of Social Reality
IV. Re-thinking the Illusion of the Free Press
2. The Classic Theory and the Quest for Truth
I. Introduction
II. John Milton: The Origins of the Theory
III. The Struggle for the Freedom of the Press
IV. John Stuart Mill and the Theory of Truth
V. Conclusions
3. Truth and Politics: Democratic Justifications of a Free Press
I. Introduction
II. Politics and Truth
III. Holmes and the Marketplace of Ideas
IV. Truth and Politics: Alexander Meiklejohn and the Critique of the Marketplace of Ideas
V. Robert Post's Participatory Democracy: Politics without Truth
VI. Free Press and the Politics of Truth
VII. Conclusions
4. Freedom of Speech and Autonomy: Towards the Discovery of the True Self
I. Introduction
II. Early Techniques of Self-discovery
III. Personal Autonomy and Freedom of Speech
IV. Autonomy and Authenticity: Back to the True Self
V. The Free Press and Self-discovery
5. Freedom and Truth
I. Introduction
II. Truth, Freedom and the Political
III. Freedom as Non-Interference: Origins and Consolidation of Market Domination
IV. Domination and the Truth-seeking Purpose of the Press
V. Re-thinking the Relationship between Truth and Freedom


“An interesting contribution to the ongoing discussion about the meaning of free speech, press freedom and the freedom of politics in general. (Translated from the original Spanish)” –  Pablo Marshall, Universidad Austral de Chile, Derecho y Crítica Social

“One of the many virtues of John Charney's The Illusion of the Free Press is that it situates its analysis of truth-discovery in the midst of increasingly grim realities for 21st-century journalism … Charney does a fine job of setting the scene for why we should all be concerned about the press's diminished state. He should also be commended for his clear organisation, lucid writing, creative argumentation and intellectual honesty in taking on such a challenging topic of scholarly research.” –  Randall Stephenson, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies

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