The First Amendment and the American news media are under siege. Loathed and distrusted by the public it hungers to serve, the media faces a backlash of unprecedented proportions. This work is the first to help us understand the dangerous consequences of the disintegration of trust between the public and the news media. In a twenty-year retrospective, Sanford sifts through historical evidence and polls to explore the root causes for the mounting hostility toward the media. Drawing on interviews with more than four hundred people from former Vice President Dan Quayle and scandal-scarred Donna Rice to such respected icons as David Broder and Eugene Roberts - Sanford describes a dangerous dialectic the media falsely stereotypes public figures, while the public encourages the caricatures. Bruce Sanford is no apologist for sloppy reporting or the vanities of the media. Yet there is something more important at stake. We are killing one of our most treasured national resources - journalists with the courage to take on corruption or abuse of power wherever they flourish.