Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

Balance with the past -

There is an article in the New York Review of Books by Susan Dunn on Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. This book, like her others, looks like a winner.  I take two paragraphs from the article by Susan Dunn.

"To a great extent, Goodwin views Theodore Roosevelt's career through the lens of his relationships with the press.  Much of The Bully Pulpit focuses on the complex, often constructive, and sometimes contentious partnerships that Roosevelt worked out with a generation of investigative journalists. Goodwin credits these partnerships not only with illuminating the corruption and abuses of the industrial age but with clarifying "a progressive vision for the entire nation," a vision aided by Roosevelt's astute use of his presidential bully pulpit.

 Notwithstanding the tremendous growth of the industrial age - railroads, telegraph wires, steamships, mines, cities - as Henry George argued in his 1879 Progress and Poverty, these vaunted advances made it "no easier for the masses of our people to make a living. On the contrary, it is becoming harder." Progress had widened the gulf between rich and poor, making the struggle for existence more intense and jeopardizing the stability of a democratic society. "To base a state with glaring social inequalities on political institutions where people are supposed to be equal," George wrote, "is to stand a pyramid on its head. Eventually, it will fall.""

President Barack Obama has been influenced by Goodwin's book on Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals.  He's had an uphill battle there, as people seemed a little more conciliatory in those days, and more willing to work for the good of the country as a whole, but here is another book asking now for the media to step up to the plate and use their investigative power for constructive change.  One might ask how much power and independence they have these days.  We will see, but the book looks like a fascinating and motivating read.

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