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
0062468162
Characteristics: 294 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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s
StarGladiator
Sep 11, 2018

[Update: For the immediate commenter below:
____________________________________________________________________________
On 12/29/12, President Obama signed HR 4310, the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1078 (thomas.loc. gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.4310
of the bill authorizes the use of propaganda inside the US, which had previously been banned since 1948 when the Smith-Mundt Act was passed.

____________________________________________________________________________
[Update: For the commenter, Lunabianca: 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?

l
Luke4111
Sep 10, 2018

@StarGladiator or others who know where following statement came from:

Could you elaborate your statement "Barack Obama, signed legislation legalizing the government to propagandize the public, something which had previously been illegal in America,"

Thanks.

s
spr2001
Mar 11, 2018

An excellent book by one of the few remaining journalists who still investigates and researches her topics. Whether you are liberal or conservative, there are many organizations out to influence you. If you want to understand how you are being "managed", read this book.

n
naturalist
Jan 09, 2018

background:
“Sharyl Attkisson Got A Show After Years Of Pushing Misinformation And Conspiracies”
by Hannah Groch-Begley, posted October 2, 2015 at Media Matters For America
https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2015/10/02/sharyl-attkisson-got-a-show-after-years-of-push/205931
and,
“More embarrassing anti-vaccine reporting from CBS News's Sharyl Attkisson”
by Seth Mnookin, posted March 31, 2011
http://blogs.plos.org/thepanicvirus/2011/03/31/more-embarrassing-anti-vaccine-reporting-from-cbs-newss-sharyl-attkisson/
and,
“Sharyl Attkisson and CBS News: An epic fail in reporting on the murder of autistic teen Alex Spourdalakis”
by David Gorski, posted September 2, 2013, at Science-Based Medicine
https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/sharyl-attkisson-promoting-wakefields-narrative-about-murder-alex-spourdalakis/
and,
“Disgraced CBS Reporter Resigns Causing Fox News To Weep (And Lie About Benghazi)”
by Mark NC, posted March 12, 2014
https://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=11663

c
caseybelle
Jan 02, 2018

When one tries to get a balanced view of The News, what one hears more and more of is a conspiracy of the Leftist Media, C.I.A., and F.B.I. What a cabal they must be. This book along with "Rogue Spooks," by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann, offers evidence that this cabal is in cahoots to overthrow Democracy and enshrine the threat of Liberalism, Socialism and FDR economics. One can read these books for a equal point of view and then discard, or examine points, based on pragmatic empirical sense. My observation of these two books is that they seem to be blatantly biased to an end that has no currency. All they do is point fingers at the windmills that blow fresh air, left and right. A metaphoric, practical resolution was hoped for but is sadly lacking.

p
pam1950
Dec 27, 2017

This book was a terrible disappointment! The SMEAR was just another example of propaganda. While the summery on the book flap says that it gives an account of how "corporations and both sides of the political isle" are using smear tactics, its focus is biased and one sided. On page 250, the author writes "Suffice to say those accused of producing or being fake news tend to define it in terms that exclude themselves and point to the other guys" This describes Attkisson book. NOT WORTH READING!!!

p
PFranzen1957
Sep 21, 2017

A must read.

j
jrmakar
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.

l
Lunabianca
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?

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