Truth in Our Times

Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts
Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (127 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This program includes an introduction read by the author.

David E. McCraw recounts his experiences as the top newsroom lawyer for The New York Times during the most turbulent era for journalism in generations.

In October 2016, when Donald Trump's lawyer demanded that The New York Times retract an article focused on two women who accused Trump of touching them inappropriately, David McCraw's scathing letter of refusal went viral, and he became a hero of press freedom everywhere. But as you'll see in Truth in Our Times, for the top newsroom lawyer at the paper of record, it was just another day at the office. 

McCraw has worked at the Times since 2002, leading the paper's fight for freedom of information, defending it against libel suits, and providing legal counsel to the reporters breaking the biggest stories of the year. In short: If you've read a controversial story in the paper since the Bush administration, it went across his desk first. From Chelsea Manning's leaks to Trump's tax returns, McCraw is at the center of the paper's decisions about what news is fit to print. 

In Truth in Our Times, McCraw recounts the hard legal decisions behind the most impactful stories of the last decade with candor and style. The audiobook is simultaneously a rare peek behind the curtain of the celebrated organization, a love letter to freedom of the press, and a decisive rebuttal of Trump's fake-news slur through a series of hard cases. It is an absolute must-have for any dedicated fan of The New York Times

“[Truth in Our Times] is spirited and hopeful and even, at times, lighthearted. It is, in a way, a love letter to the First Amendment." (The New York Times Book Review)

©2019 David E. McCraw (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Truth in Our Times

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Engaging

David E. McCraw is an attorney. He has spent the past fifteen years as the deputy general counsel for the New York Times. The book is a combination of a memoir, politics and history. McCraw discusses his perceived threats to the first amendment. He also goes into legal cases such as New York Times Company v Sullivan which made suing the press for libel more difficult. He also covers Wikileaks and Edward Snowden. Of course, he discusses the current political situation in Washington, D.C.

The book is well written and researched. McCraw provides a clear understanding of the first amendment and legal issues regarding journalism. The writing is concise and easy to understand for a lay person. The author also provides some humor in the book. I had no idea running a newspaper was so complicated legally. This is an important read.

The book is ten hours and two minutes. Stephen Graybill does a good job narrating the book. Graybill is an award-winning voice-over actor and audiobook narrator. He has won the Gold Clio Award, the Silver Effie Award and the Reader’s Choice Award of “Narrator of the Year”. This is my first experience listening to Graybill.

2 people found this helpful

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A book to share

I'm a retired attorney (among other things) and this book explains why freedom of the press is so critical to a free society. Yes, it deals with the most repressive presidents of modern times and how his demagoguery of the press is a problem, but it also deals with the dangers to reporters and news organizations around the world. It points out that if we don't take steps to ensure freedom of the press in this nation, as enshrined in the First Amendment, we're in danger of ending up like other authoritarian nations, such as China.

I'm so impressed I've given copies to friends. That's not something I normally do.

A non-attorney can easily digest the material. That's a plus. And for those of us who have been in the field, there are parts of legal snark (documents that assume everyone reading them has just arrived from Mars) that set me to laughing. If you've never read a legal document that starts from prior to the creation of the universe in order to make sure everyone is on the same page (informationally) you might not appreciate what the legal writer goes through.

If you are interested in freedom, this is an important book to read. Give a copy to a friend.

7 people found this helpful

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Wonderful story from the NYT's attorney

I was a journalism undergrad before going to law school, and I'm also a long time subscriber to the Times, so it's a pleasure to listen to this book. Funny at times, serious the rest, it's a story of truth speaking to power, as told by someone who is certain down to his bones that the First Amendment will protect his client, even when its staff go way out on a limb. Great story!

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Patriotic, stalwart, and compelling.

I’m a law student focused on media and tech law, and a NY Times subscriber. I suppose I was predisposed to enjoy this because I believe so strongly in the First Amendment and the press’ indispensability to democracy. But if I could recommend this book to anyone, it would be those skeptical of the credibility and importance of the “mainstream media”. McGraw’s compelling stories of his work at the Times paint a portrait of a venerated American institution committed to standing up to red and blue administrations for decades. It reflects a uniquely American patriotism and unwavering conviction in the importance of free speech in a world—and country—increasingly hostile to journalists committed to holding the powerful to account, just as the founding fathers originally intended.

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Informative, salient to our times

I liked the book, but did not like the narration. It was one of the poorer narrators I've listened to, not terrible but not good either. So that colored my perception and enjoyment of the contents.

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What it takes to bring us the "accurate" news.

Hello Everyone: Decided to re-write my review here. Simpler summary.... Needed to listen to this book in 30-60 minute intervals in-order to get through it. Best way to describe; the book is a tremendous insight into the daily land-mines that a major sized news organization, (could be the largest, I do not know), encounters. The legal wrangling and posturing is mind-boggling. One needs to be good at what they do here. Many thanks to all the legal folks that assist in keeping this news org. afloat. {Cannot make too many errors. Need to get your story right the first time and stay with it}. Thanks for reading.

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  • Andree
  • 05-13-19

Informative

I enjoyed this book. It is full of anecdotes. It is written from a lawyer's perspective, which allows for the imparting of a different point of view in analysing what is happening in the world of American journalism and particularly at the NYT. The author is well experienced in journalism and law, which gives him an edge in evaluating contexts, facts, and even people in the news. For journalists in the making and all who care about the seriousness of what politics is inflicting these days, the book will be welcomed. I do recommend it for those with an open mind.