By Andie Tucher
Infamous antebellum manhattan homicide cases—a prostitute slashed in a sublime brothel and a tradesman bludgeoned by way of the brother of inventor Samuel Colt—set off journalistic scrambles over the meanings of fact, objectivity, and the obligation of the clicking that reverberate to this day.In 1833 a wholly new type of newspaper—cheap, feisty, and politically independent—introduced American readers to the unconventional idea of what has turn out to be known as objectivity in information assurance. The penny press was once the 1st medium that claimed to offer the genuine, independent proof to a democratic viewers. yet in Froth and Scum, Andie Tucher explores—and explodes—the concept that 'objective' reporting will find a unmarried, definitive truth.As they do now, information tales of the time aroused powerful emotions in regards to the danger of justice, the privileges of strength, and the character of evil. The prostitute's homicide in 1836 sparked an impassioned public debate, yet one newspaper's 'impartial research' happy the strong by means of aiding the killer pass unfastened. Colt's 1841 homicide of the tradesman encouraged common condemnation, however the newspapers' singleminded specialize in his conviction allowed one other mystery legal to flee. by means of reading media assurance of those sensational murders, Tucher unearths how a community's wishes and anxieties can form its public truths. The manuscript of this publication gained the 1991 Allan Nevins Prize of the Society of yankee Historians for the best-written dissertation in American heritage.
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Extra resources for Froth & Scum: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and the Ax Murder in America's First Mass Medium
Greeley had come to realize that middle-class readers might welcome the novelty of a "decent" paper written specifically for them. For the canny Bennett, who had known all along that the respectable sort of folk had more money, power, and prestige than the penny press's traditional working-class audience, the consequences of falling behind in the circulation race grew with the same breathtaking swiftness that his business did. Yet even though the editors wanted the same audience, they perceived their journalistic duties in precisely opposite ways.
And because few individuals could afford the heavy expenses of paper, ink, labor, and printing equipment without aid, aspiring editors welcomed the patronage of a political party. Yet because that patronage required the editor's devotion to party interests and his persecution of its enemies, candor often suffered, and the penny editors explicitly rejected this constraint. Often and vigorously they criticized party papers as mere tools of the establishment. " 2 Page 9 The new editors had very different labels for themselves.
Rob Tucher merits a special thanks for his photographic work. 1 I am deeply grateful to Thomas Bender, not just for guiding my work from the very beginning, but also for inspiring me with his vision, his enthusiasm, and his example. Daniel J. Czitrom read the manuscript with care and offered many perceptive and canny suggestions. And Dan Bischoff made everything better, including the manuscript. Any error or misinterpretation I claim as my just deserts, and mine alone. Page xi FROTH & SCUM Page 1 PROLOGUE Routed from her bed at three o'clock one Sunday morning in 1836 by a late customer's knock, Rosina Townsend, the keeper of a stylish house of prostitution on Thomas Street in Manhattan, was surprised to find a lamp burning unattended in the parlor and the back door standing open.
Froth & Scum: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and the Ax Murder in America's First Mass Medium by Andie Tucher