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Feeding the Beast: The White House Versus the Press Paperback – May, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For 10 years, Kenneth T. Walsh worked the most glamorous beat in American journalism. The White House correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, he was a firsthand participant in the daily struggle for status and recognition waged by both the White House staff and the reporters themselves. It can be an odd task for journalists, who, having risen to the pinnacle of a very competitive profession, find themselves more or less at the mercy of arrogant--and often very young--staffers who serve as buffers between the press and executive branch of government. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Despite the title and the book's gloss of press criticism, this is mostly a competent, conventional memoir of the past decade on the White House beat. U.S. News & World Report White House correspondent Walsh declares that the White House and the news media no longer trust each other, thus shortchanging the American public. He cites both manipulative politicos and the rise of journalists' cynicism and television's focus on personality. His anecdotal history of the Reagan, Bush and Clinton years is readable but strains for judgment: Did the run-up to the Gulf War really show the media on two sides, jingoists and antimilitarists? Was the press really unfair to Dan Quayle? Walsh's observations that the White House media focus too much on conflict, are tyrannized by the fast-running news cycle and are isolated from middle America have been made more eloquently in James Fallows's recent Breaking the News. Walsh's prescription, that reporters avoid editorializing or analysis, and that they get outside the Beltway, are only partial solutions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Xlibris Corp (May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401050573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401050573
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,566,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Kenneth T. Walsh is a prize-winning journalist who has covered the White House since 1986, including the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Walsh has won the most prestigious awards for White House coverage and is former president of the White House Correspondents' Association. He is Hurst professorial adjunct lecturer in communication at American University in Washington, D.C. and appears frequently on television and radio. He also is a popular speaker who gives talks around the country and on cruise ships. Walsh has written five books.

A native of New York City who spent nearly a decade as a reporter and editor in Denver, Walsh is married to Barclay Walsh and they live in Bethesda, Maryland. They have two children.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Many Americans have grown increasingly disenchanted with the quality of national news coverage and journalist Kenneth Walsh is one of them. Taking aim at the vindictiveness and sensationalism that pervades coverage of the White House in particular, Walsh attributes much of the blame, not surprisingly, to shorter news cycles that encourage reporters to "advance the story" with "hard-edged" analysis and predictions, fierce competition for ratings, and the public's appetite for entertainment over hard news. The strength of the book, I believe, lies in his interviews with White House reporters and network news anchors. Their reactions to Walsh's questions struck me as running the gamut from surprisingly self-aware and candid to hopelessly defensive, sarcastic and naive. The weaknesses of the book, while not outweighing the strengths, are manifold. Walsh takes too much time to detail how, at the outset, Clinton and his youthful press secretaries needlessly antagonized the press; in the end, he concedes that Clinton's aversion to "gotcha" journalism is well-founded, and that even deft handling of the White House press would have done little to curb rampant negativism. And while he criticizes the Clintons for failing to reveal enough of their private personas to the media, Walsh also acknowledges that the unquenchable press appetite for this sort of information exceeds the limits of human toleration. My most serious reservations concern the author's conclusions. After identifying the competitive pressures that drive the news business, Walsh seems to forget about them as he lamely calls on journalists to restore professional standards.Read more ›
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