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Brian J. Karem



Blending his experiences as a veteran reporter with analysis of the erosion of trust between the press and the government during the past 40 years, in Free the Press, renowned journalist Brian J. Karem gives readers a unique perspective on the challenges facing journalism while asking the question, “How did we get here?” And perhaps more importantly, “How do we fix it?”. Since the Vietnam War, each and every president has overseen the withering of relations between the Executive Branch and the so-called Fourth Estate.


Politicians are not solely to blame, however. Corporate media has us following the news of the day for clicks and views rather than pursuing long term stories of impact. Reporters have ceased to frame the narrative and failed to co-opt social media contributions until it was too late.


Placed alongside a firsthand view of Karem’s own experience as a reporter and manager in television, print, and the online media industry, where he witnessed buyouts and the end of locally owned and operated newspapers; a behind-the-scenes look at his work as a member of the White House Press Corps; and his advocacy to protect the journalistic pillar of anonymity, readers will come away with a deeper understanding of journalism, and what happened to it, at the national and local level. 


Karem concludes with a three-step plan to save the free press, as well as a comprehensive method to reporting for reporters to regain level footing and work toward repairing the damage done to one of the most important and sacred institutional relationships of our country.


“Karem makes a powerful case that Trump was just a symptom of the cancer ravaging the independent press in America over the last four decades, and he's right; the disease is caused as much by the media itself as the politicians attacking the first amendment. Karem may not be optimistic about the resurgence of a powerful independent media in this country, but he does offer some provocative ideas for how to attack the problem. Every young reporter should read this book.”

– Joe Lockhart, former White House Press Secretary

“Karem has had a unique view of the world for decades as he observes from his unique perch. He gives us a different take on matters that causes us to critically think. This must-read is thought-provoking and forward-leaning.”

– April Ryan, White House Correspondent, TheGrio, Political Analyst, CNN, and author of Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House

“Brian Karem is old school and Free the Press is all about being independent! From his first encounter with a politician (trust me, it’s good) to his more sobering efforts to protect his sources, Karem reminds us why a free press is the bedrock of a free people.”

– Michael Steele, former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Lieutenant Governor of Maryland

“Free the Press is an incisive, personal, and funny book that weaves together two tales: the ups and downs of American journalism and Karem’s accomplished, colorful life in that profession. His love of facts-based journalism shines through. His disdain for lies, disinformation, and conspiracies is withering. While lamenting the accelerating challenges to American media, Karem insists that journalism can still be saved – and makes the case that doing so is integral to the preservation of our democracy.”

– Norman Eisen, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, and chair of the States United Democracy Center 

“Brian Karem’s Free the Press takes us on a lively, fascinating tour of three momentous decades of American journalism. Karem is a fearless reporter who has fought to bring the truth to the public and protect the First Amendment. As this book vividly demonstrates, he has done and seen it all — from being jailed for protecting a confidential source as a local reporter in Texas to battling the Trump Administration in the White House briefing room and in court. This is a powerful memoir of Karem’s own career and freedom of the press in this country.”

– Ted Boutrous, partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

“Brian Karem is one of our very best reporters out there and he's witnessed firsthand how far American journalism has fallen. His gripping new book shines a bright light on how we got here – and how we can get out. Free the Press is mandatory reading for anyone who believes in journalism and in the democracy it serves.”

– Victor Pickard, author of Democracy Without Journalism?

”Free the Press is part memoir and part political history as Karem takes us on his journey through the bi-partisan dismantling of journalism as a public service and the installation of corporate media that values capitalism over a free press. This book is required reading for every person living in a news desert, for every person cloaked in ignorance while they shout ‘fake news,’ and for every student as they learn how press monopolies took down journalism and aided this country's division. Free the Press is a wake-up call served with work instructions to reestablish our press freedoms.” 
– Bonnie Jean Feldkamp, Media Director for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and syndicated columnist

“I first met Brian Karem in the White House briefing room when I tried following up on a question he asked. Brian came over and thanked me, then treated me to lunch. He became a trusted mentor and a dear friend. Free the Press is the seminal explanation of how our business lost its way — and how we might get it back.”

– John T. Bennett, longtime White House correspondent and editor, The Washington Examiner

“Brian Karem's Free The Press depicts a world where Instagram influencers outnumber journalists, and where the last four years have become a harbinger of what's to come. When politicians control the narrative, we have already lost the fight. But apparently, no one told Brian. Free The Press is a great read and an important book.” 

– Chip Franklin, Winner of National Edward R Murrow Award for Writing and talk-show host, KGO radio San Francisco

“Brian Karem is every bit the old school reporter. Tough, fair, with a dogged pursuit for the truth and a can’t-hide-it desire to help the little guy. In Free the Press, Karem takes us on a 40-year journey, explaining in his unique fashion what’s happened to the press in this country, how the government and corporate America has screwed with it, and how we got to Donald Trump and his attacks on the press as the “enemy of the people.” Entertaining, honest, and somewhat troubling, Free the Press does provide some hope, spelling out in a succinct way what needs to be done to keep a free press in America. A must-read for any American who values a free press.”

– Joe Walsh, former Congressman, Illinois’s 8th congressional district

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