Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency Hardcover – September 1, 1988


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$14.82 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (T); 1st edition (September 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374251975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374251970
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,995,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Based on some 175 interviews with top administration officials, senior journalists and news executives, plus analyses of newspaper articles and television stories, Hertsgaard ( Nuclear Inc. ) argues that the Reagan White House not only tamed the media but transformed it into "a willing mouthpiece of the government" in its coverage of issues ranging from economic policy to arms control. In addition to providing examples of the media's "accommodating passivity" on major issues, he contends that the Reagan propaganda apparatus (or "Deaver & Co.," as he also calls it, referring to the president's former image wizard) chose the First Lady's pet project (i.e., the dangers of drugs) for her to draw attention away from her lavish lifestyle, which the public was beginning to notice and resent. Hertsgaard also claims that evidence suggests a 1980 deal with Iran to delay the hostage release until inauguration day, and that this alleged deal was the genesis of the Iran-contra affair. But these are mere sidelights in this charge-packed attack on the media's "subservience to state authority" and the "witless malevolence" of recent presidential image-making. Hertsgaard's most controversial indictment is that the nation's press lords deliberately reined in their troops.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

During the Reagan years, the White House Press Corps has "functioned less as an independent than as a palace court press," according to Hertsgaard. Basing his arguments on hundreds of interviews with important administration leaders and reporters, Hertsgaard convincingly portrays the White House press as noncritical and sycophantic. As members of the same power elite that they write about, White House reporters more often than not agree with the President's policies. In addition, they have been reluctant to strongly criticize Reagan for fear of being cut off from the flow of information and of losing their privileged status. Recommended for media and current affairs collections. Karl Helicher, Wolfsohn, Memorial Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Andrew McCaffrey VINE VOICE on August 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
ON BENDED KNEE: THE PRESS AND THE REAGAN PRESIDENCY is (now) a historical snapshot and a thorough analysis of that emerging picture. The focus of attention is upon the exact relationship between (not surprisingly) the press apparatus of the Reagan Administration and the press itself. And his conclusion -- that Reagan faced a press that rarely even thought about trying to draw blood -- is something that any Reagan supporter would find hard to argue. After all, author Mark Hertsgaard even gets some quotes from Reagan Administration officials who basically agree with his argument.

ON BENDED KNEE was published in 1988 (the book mentions the on-going Presidential campaign of that year, but seems blissfully unaware of its conclusion), and the main feature separating this political book from political books of today is that there appears to have been actual research put into it. While some modern books seem content to rest their conclusions on the backs of half-remembered interviews on CNN or from rumors they gleamed off the Internets, Hertsgaard interviewed over 175 persons. Persons from both the press and the Reagan Administration.

It's these interviews that drive the book. Hertsgaard's technique is to proceed chronologically, letting the quotes build up an individual story, and then inserting his own analysis to show how these specific events fall into an overall pattern. Hertsgaard spends time analyzing both the construction/distribution of the Reagan "message" and how that message was parsed by the media. The pattern seems eerily similar to the post-9/11 coverage of today's government and those parallels will seem obvious and ominous.

I found this to be a very convincing argument.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John G. Hilliard on July 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
The cover of this book has a picture of President Reagan in front of about 10 reporters. This is about the same ratio of press verse political coverage in the book itself. This book was recommend or mentioned in a number of other books I have read covering the Reagan Presidency or how the media deal with the White House. Thus, I thought it would be an interesting book on how the Reagan image machine worked. I just came away a bit disappointed because of the heavy amount of reporting on the press. I guess I thought the book would be more balanced and have a deeper look at what the Reagan administration did with the press and how they put out information to the press. Basically, I wanted to know more details on how the political people control the media.
If you are part of the population that does not believe in the "Liberal Media" chant so many conservatives have been going on about for years then this book will add many new examples to your cocktail party debates. This book is a great pre book to Alterman's "What Liberal Media" The authors really dig into how the press viewed partisan or the appearance of partisan coverage during the 80's. It almost came across like most of the press where more worried about how there paper was viewed by the White House image team then by the readers. The author gave example after example and quotes galore from media types that talked about how stories were rewritten or pushed further back in the paper due to the subjects. There were also some very interesting examples about how the White House used terrorism and the Middle East to first sell American involvement and then excuse American withdrawals. It seemed to me that the current White House may be using some of these same tactics.
One last comment on the book.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books ever written about the modern news media
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When I first saw this book, I was intrigued by the hypothesis but once I got into it, I couldn't help but notice the book is mostly just out-of-context quotes blended with some conspiracy theories, and loaded with venom. Hertsgaard is certainly unqualified to judge the press because he is so committed to his agenda it clouds his mind.
Even though he's short on facts and lacks a basic knowledge of how things work at the networks and big newspapers, Hertsgaard obviously spent a lot of time interviewing people and there are some interesting quotes from people in the press and in the reagan administration. If you don't mind reading every few paragraphs how evil and stupid Ronald Reagan was you can get some interesting quotes from people.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?