From Publishers Weekly
Building on tenets laid out in The Press Effect, which he coauthored with Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Waldman deconstructs Bush's image as plainspoken, compassionate Dubya and accuses the media of failing to properly scrutinize the values of his presidency. Bush's inarticulateness misleads a gullible public into perceiving the president as a "real," ordinary American, Waldman argues, contending that Bush's administration actually serves a business elite rather than the average American. Meticulously combing through footnoted sources, Waldman carves an alternative portrait of a privileged and ruthless Bush who was gleeful over executions as Texas's governor, guilty of Enron-style business practices and contemptuous of the protective role of government. American journalists, in Waldman's view, are either muzzled or lack the policy expertise and research strengths to expose Bush effectively; as a result, the public is woefully confused. Waldman goes on to demythologize the so-called liberal bias of the media, comparing journalists' past persecution of Clinton with the relative mildness of present-day critiques of Bush. In his breakdown of Bush's tax policies and of the Republican Party's dominance by ultraconservative Southerners, Waldman is particularly strident. An assembly of sources and facts and a useful guide to right-wing rhetoric makes this handbook of anti-Bush ammunition-complete with an appendix that provides a "Guide to Key Lies and Misdirections-useful to partisans along with other Bush critiques by David Corn, Eric Alterman and Mark Green.
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The word liar
has been used so many times in recent book titles about George Bush that Waldman, a political analyst and media critic, needed to come up with something different, although he manages to get lies
into the subtitle. And, in fact, this book covers very much the same territory as the offerings of David Corn, Joe Conason, and others. As in those books, there is much here on Bush's image versus the reality of his history; the disconnect between his rhetoric and his actions; the events surrounding the buildup to the war in Iraq. But this volume stands out in the way it shapes the usual knocks against Bush into a well-thought-out strategy and then shows how the media's halfhearted perusal of various charges led to the party line becoming ensconced as truth. Waldman writes with ease and authority about his topic (footnotes appear on every page and then are expanded in an appendix, making it easy to check his sources). The occasionally sarcastic tone may grate on anyone who is reading to be persuaded, but in all probability, the book's audience will come largely from those already on Waldman's side. More red meat to feed the anti-Bush beast. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved