The Smear

The Smear

How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote

Book - 2017
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The veteran journalist exposes the practices of opposition research to reveal how political leaders use their influence to shape public opinion, connecting popular misconceptions to strategic smear campaigns that have influenced voters.
"Behind most major political stories there is an agenda: To destroy an idea or the people advancing it. Maybe you watched someone on the news report that Donald Trump is a racist misogynist, read that Hillary Clinton used a body double, or heard that Bernie Sanders cheated in the primary. Regardless of accuracy, the themes get repeated until they become accepted by many as the truth. It's called "the smear." Sophisticated operatives work behind the scenes to establish narratives, manipulate journalists, and shape the images you see every day. Nothing is by accident. Now hard-hitting investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, ... bestselling author of Stonewalled, takes you behind the scenes of the modern smear machine, exploring how operatives from corporations and both sides of the political aisle have manipulated a complicit mainstream media to make disinformation, rumor, and dirty tricks defining traits of our democracy. Pulling back the curtain on the shady world of opposition research, she reveals how those in power create well-funded, organized attack campaigns to take down their enemies and influence your opinions, offering a detailed examination of the think tanks, super PACS, LLCs, and nonprofits that have become the hidden backers of some of the biggest smears in American politics. And she doesn't just tell stories--she names names, sharing her deeply researched account of how smears take shape and who their perpetrators are--from Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal to liberal political operative David Brock, who, along with his expansive Media Matters for America empire, has been rewriting the rules of the smear game for decades while raking in millions of dollars in generous compensation. In addition, Attkisson reveals outrageous transactional journalism and exposes scandalous emails behind the smear industrial complex, showing how Campaign 2016 became the exclamation point on the thirty-year evolution of the smear machine. Dissecting the most divisive, partisan election in American history, she explores how both sides used every smear tactic as a political weapon, culminating in Donald Trump's hard-fought victory, even as his detractors have continued their smears against him into the Oval Office. What emerges is a timely assault on the mainstream media's willingness to sacrifice ethics for clicks, and the cynical politicians and high-paid consultants who exploit this reality. A critical discussion for this perilous moment, The Smear is a disturbing look at how the black market serving professional propagandists really works."--Jacket.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062468161
Characteristics: 294 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Sep 21, 2017

A must read.

Aug 29, 2017

Sort of okay. I've caught some of Attkisson's public appearances on 'tv' over the last few years. This book is a rehash of all that with more recent stuff since Nov. 2016. Nothing new, and mostly not terribly deep. She's not a great journalist, mostly a trend follower, and that lack of depth comes thru in this book. I had reserved the book, did a quick read when it came in, canceled my hold; there really wasn't anything new or important, tho the tone was all outrage and crisis, told by her very crusading self. Hopefully someday a real investigative researcher will cover this.

Mar 05, 2017

@Star Gladiator -- do you actually READ books before commenting? I noticed Fox News talking points posing as a "review" under the new book about Hilary Clinton too. Or shall we simply label your posts FAKE REVIEWS?

Mar 04, 2017

[Update: For the commenter above: I've never viewed Fox // News \\ and as I have mentioned in several previous book reviews, there is no such thing as a Fox News since Murdoch's News Corporation successfully won several federal lawsuits whereby the courts ruled it was legal to fictionalize the news in America. Since the past president, Barack Obama, signed legislation legalizing the government to propagandize the public, something which had previously been illegal in America, there are no official media conduits [save the occasional KPFA show from Berkeley] in America. Perhaps you believe every neocon who claims to be a democrat, such as the Clintons and Obama, because you have never familiarized yourself with their political records, which is indicative of a very lazy person!]
Amazing! I have never, ever heard of this // investigative journalist \\ - - wonder why that would be? Perhaps since she has never exposed any real facts; something which would stick in one's mind?
Did she uncover George W. Bush's actual non-existent military record? Did she uncover serious facts which the Fake News refused to cover in the assassinations of President Kennedy, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sen. Bobby Kennedy?


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