Editor: There are some very interesting remarks on Foucault, Bourdieu and journalism in the first chapter
Journalists are commonly denounced from all sides – a shameful, deceitful trade, a profession sold out to the powerful which gives a biased and misleading picture of the world. Behind the condemnation one can often detect a desire for reform, a feeling that good journalism is too important for the health of democracy to be left to languish among the tabloids. Yet the discussion rarely gets beyond the well-worn formulas of free speech and the Fourth Estate. The question of the political significance of journalism is never seriously addressed, and the question of what journalism should be is rarely posed.
This important new book by Géraldine Muhlmann addresses these gaps in our understanding and goes a long way to filling them. Putting aside the hasty diatribes against journalism, Muhlmann asks the fundamental questions: what should journalism be? What ideals should it serve? What do seeing and showing the world mean today? What direction should journalism take in order to emerge from its current crisis?
Drawing on a rich tradition of philosophical thought, Muhlmann breathes new life into the old debate about journalism and its role today. Avoiding the twin pitfalls of destructive criticism and naive celebration, she sees a double task for a reinvigorated journalism: to allow space for conflict but also to foster unity within the political community. In the practice of journalism we see the enigma of democracy itself: the coexistence of two stages, one of action and one of representations, the latter offering a symbolic resolution to the conflicts that animate the former.