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Arthur Rowse’s approach to media criticism is characterized by a polarizing crankiness: Rowse either inspires you to outrage or annoys the bejesus out of you. A veteran newsman and author who lives in Maryland, Rowse recently published Drive-By Journalism: The Assault on Your Need to Know for the left-leaning Common Courage Press. Name a press peccadillo from the past decadefrom media mergers and political bias to ratings-driven sensationalism and soundbite shrinkageand Rowse has surely cited it. The flavor of Rowse’s pungent gumbo can be gleaned from a sampling of the verbs he uses in his chapter headings: “censoring,” “corrupting,” “exploiting,” and “trashing.” Hear his heartfelt muckraking in person when he appears at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 12089 Rockville Pike, Rockville. Free. (301) 881-0237. (Louis Jacobson)