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Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News Hardcover – September 15, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; First Edition edition (September 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446529761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446529761
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,495,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his first book, the genial cohost ("from the right") of CNN's popular Crossfire details his adventures in the political business and in television, from the enlightening to the downright hilarious. Given Carlson's conservative label, some readers may be wary. That would be a mistake. Politicians is not about bashing liberals (indeed, Carlson admits that his Ober-liberal cohost James Carville is "one of my favorite people"), but about the colorful and at times irreverent people who make politics so interesting-and entertaining. The author reserves his criticism for stuffy politicians who take themselves too seriously, and he lavishes praise on those who make good on-air guests. Among these is the convicted former Ohio congressman, James Traficant, "because he was willing to appear on television drunk." Carlson's montage is packed with golden political nuggets ("if you're going to be shallow, I've always thought you'd better be amusing") as well as the secret to his success (just let people talk and they will tell you everything you need to know) and funny glimpses behind the scenes at live TV, including the producer from hell, the "seven forbidden words" on television and "easy turns," the "publicity hounds" without whom, he says, talk shows could not exist. At times, it's difficult to tell if Carlson is being serious or pulling your leg, but that is part of his charm. Anyone with a sense of humor will find this chronicle thoroughly enjoyable, and political junkies will likely laugh out loud more than once.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Carlson is the conservative team member, the guy in the bow tie, on CNN's political-debate program Crossfire. His book is both memoir and commentary on current politics and the media--all with a slant, of course. Although many readers will disagree with his attitudes and precepts, everyone has to admit he is a good storyteller, intelligent and witty and sure of himself. He recalls his climb to his current TV position, which included formative time spent on the CNN show Spin Room. In the process, we certainly learn how cutthroat the television world is. Never averse to expressing an opinion, Carlson offers his own interesting philosophy on how to behave in front of a camera, which includes the maxim that "arguing a position you don't really support is a sure way to wind up loathing yourself. Plus, genuine conviction makes for a good debate. Phoniness is easy to spot." And this, too: "As the host, it's up to you to decide what happens on the show. And no matter what the producer says, you have the power to do it." The bottom line is, of course, that readers' gut-level responses will depend on which side of the liberal-conservative spectrum they find themselves. Librarians should expect demand. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

The book contains very little of a substantive nature.
Paul Tognetti
Tucker Carlson, who co-hosts CNN's Crossfire has written an enlightening and amusing book on his three years at CNN.
David St Lawrence
It's very entertaining, and not written with any overt political motive.
glenn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on October 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was only passingly familiar with Tucker Carlson before cracking the binding of his book, POLITICIANS, PARTISANS, AND PARASITES. I vaguely recalled a few articles he had done for The Weekly Standard and The American Spectator, and I knew that he was on CNN's Crossfire. The problem is that at casa de Hartlaub we don't really tune in to CNN all that much, and as for Crossfire ... if I started watching James Carville with any regularity it would be the mark of a behavior deviation so devastating that my family would probably ship me off for that long promised 30-day psychological evaluation. While Crossfire appears to be on its last legs, Carlson's career trajectory is only beginning, if POLITICIANS, PARTISANS, AND PARASITES is any indication.
For one thing, Carlson is really funny. His written delivery is very conversational. Reading POLITICIANS, PARTISANS, AND PARASITES is like having this hip, smart, observant guy over for dinner and being happy to let him monopolize the conversation for the entire evening. Carlson is right to center right politically, but he doesn't beat you over the head with it. He chooses his battles wisely and almost always wins them. But POLITICIANS, PARTISANS, AND PARASITES isn't a regurgitation of Carlson's views. It's a breezy, entertaining account of Carlson's experiences in television journalism and reporting.
Carlson's accounts of his adventures in the trenches of television news journalism are not presented in an orderly fashion. It's not quite stream of consciousness but the link between one topic and another can be a bit tenuous. You're not really going to care, however.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Yalensian VINE VOICE on November 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A short, quick read, Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites is Tucker Carlson's account of his television career. It is mostly a personal, autobiographical account of his own experiences, rather than an analytical treatment of the business--although he does draw some general conclusions about the field. The book deals more with personalities than with issues.

Carlson begins with his largely accidental beginnings in TV--from his first brief appearance during the O.J. Simpson trial (a gig he landed somewhat randomly, by returning early from lunch to the Weekly Standard office) to the phone call during the 2000 election asking him, on the fly, to host a new show on CNN, The Spin Room. Throughout its life, that show always retained a thrown-together quality to it, with Carlson and Press often relying on gifts to furnish the set. They never did get custom coffee mugs, and Carlson's final attempt intersected with the end of the show--the promotional department knew of the show's end before Carlson and would not give him the mugs. From there, Carlson migrated to Crossfire, CNN's one-time premier political show, and watched as it, too, fell, unable to compete with Fox's primetime lineup.

Carlson despises partisans, whom he differentiates from ideologues. The distinction is rooted in partisans' blind adherence to the party line, but I'm not convinced that the distinction is an apt one. He likes people who speak their minds and go out on limbs, who aren't afraid to be outrageous. Jesse Jackson is a phony, whose phoniness is enhanced by TV. Al Sharpton, Carlson suggests, can think for himself, even if he is wrong. Jim Traficant added color when he showed up for an interview drunk and accosted the show's female floor director.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David St Lawrence on January 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Tucker Carlson, who co-hosts CNN's Crossfire has written an enlightening and amusing book on his three years at CNN.
I have watched Crossfire only rarely, but I happened to hear Tucker speak about his experiences at a televised book conference in Miami, Florida not too long ago.
He described, with dry wit and obvious fondness, the colorful characters he interviewed and worked with in the most powerful and weirdest medium there is. I was entranced by his insight and intelligence and immediately ordered his new book, Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites.
This book was one of the most entertaining reads I have had in a long time. His intimate portraits of Al Sharpton, John McCain, James Carville, Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson, and many others are not to be missed.
Tucker has seen television from the inside and describes it without rancor and without pulling any punches. Both in his speech and in the book, he mentioned expecting to be fired at anytime because of his enthusiasm for airing his views.
I hope it doesn't happen soon, because we need more TV personalities with his sense of humor. To get the flavor of Tucker's humor, see his interview by Kevin Holtsberry in August of this year.
He has written a great book. Read it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ernest Gundel on October 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I never saw Tucker Carlson on Crossfire, but I wish I had based on this book. Carlson strikes me as a moderate, not really a conservative, and this was one of very few books that delve into politics without an overload of spin. Limbaugh on the right, and Franken on the left, try to make their audiences angry while they entertain. Tucker appears to have no agenda. To some, that might make him seem tame, but to me, it was refreshing. He has many entertaining and enlightening stories to tell, so if you want a break from party warfare, but you are still fascinated by politics, this might be for you.
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