- Series: American Political Challenges
- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (September 13, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0742538176
- ISBN-13: 978-0742538177
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,065,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Attack the Messenger: How Politicians Turn You Against the Media (American Political Challenges)
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From Publishers Weekly
In 1988, Vice President George H.W. Bush successfully evaded Dan Rather's questions about his Iran-Contra affair involvement by going on the attack in a live interview on CBS. Crawford, a TV pundit and Congressional Quarterly columnist, identifies this event as the turning point in the media's relationship to both politicians and the nation. In this impassioned dissection of the rapid devolution of the media's power in today's political environment, he asserts that the public's distrust of the news media has reached at a high point, an issue he considers one of "the most hazardous political challenges now facing Americans." Politicians—liberals and conservatives alike (though Republicans bear the brunt of Crawford's ire)—have deflected criticism and convinced the public to blame the media. Though Crawford makes no startling observations or conclusions, he marshals convincing evidence for his argument, from the decline of PBS's editorial independence to the "televised smack-downs" between reporter Helen Thomas and former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer during the lead-up to the Iraq War. Slim as Crawford's book may be, it does a decent job of pulling together the principal moments of the ongoing struggle between the press and the government. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I have covered many a presidential campaign with Craig Crawford, and I can honestly say that, of all the so-called 'political experts' out there, he definitely consumes the most cheeseburgers. (Dave Barry)
Craig Crawford has written a definitive book that throws new light on the roles of the press and officialdom with sparkling anecdotes that prove his point. He doesn't spare either side, but the First Amendment comes out a winner in this scintillating book. (Helen Thomas, Dean, White House Press Corps, Hearst Columnist)
How lies are made into the truth, and truth made into lies; how the liars come to be perceived as victims and the truth-tellers, evildoers. A cautionary story for those of all political stripes, to say nothing of journalists and those who consume information today, and Crawford's nailed it. (Keith Olbermann, MSNBC)
It's all here―the good, the bad, and the ugly . . . and cable, too―all compiled by a political pro with a jeweler's eye for detail and the distance vision of a fighter pilot. Craig Crawford knows his beat. (Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor, NBC Nightly News)
Craig's book made me alternately squeal with delight at the media's arrogance and curse his mother, Toby, for giving him life where he reveals the complicity of politicians in the contemporary degradation of political/press affairs. But Attack the Messenger is not about assigning blame; its an inspiration to stop the madness for democracy's sake. The media must stop presuming all politicians are corrupt, egomaniacal liars, and we pols have to consider the possibility that not all media are evil, self-serving, out-of-touch cynics. Both professions are anchored in ideas, populated with idealists who all rue their tradecrafts have degenerated to a point that devalues both their noble worlds and worse―the public they both long to serve. (Mary Matalin, Republican political consultant)
With wit and insider knowledge, Craig Crawford identifies America's Most Wanted: the con-men, spinners, character assassins, electronic demagogues, greedy bottom-liners, and barefaced liars who―with rather too much help from sloppiness in the media―are destroying public faith in the institution of a free press. This is a timely and entertaining book―which is more than I can say for most of the people in its gallery. (Tina Brown, Washington Post columnist and author)
Impassioned dissection of the rapid devolution of the media's power in today's political environment...pull[s] together the principal moments of the ongoing struggles between the press and the government. (Publishers Weekly)
Crawford . . . is a Washington insider, a purveyor of inside wisdom and a collector of mind-numbing detail. (David Shribman St. Petersburg Times)
Provocative. . . . Mr. Crawford's book serves as a useful introduction to the issue at hand, providing a persuasive sketch of how the current White House, with assists from its two predecessors and a changing media landscape, has worked to undermine the mainstream press. (Michiko Kakutani, Books of the Times Editor The New York Times)
Crawford often writes engagingly and has his moments of perceptiveness and clarity. (Margaret Sullivan, editor-in-chief, The Buffalo News Washington Monthly)
Top Customer Reviews
Craig offers much needed historical context for the breakdown in trust between the politicians, the press and the public. He makes an eloquent case for the importance of a free press to a healthy democracy. We all benefit when the press is free to serve its ultimate purpose of watchdog and informant for the public, and we all suffer when that process is eroded. Everyone should read this book.
Buy this book! Buy this book! Seriously, you'll be glad you did.
Crawford has a unique ability to see things with a vision most in DC don't have. It helps that Crawford never forgets his roots, something that's always refreshing during his must listen to appearances on "Imus." He's never a "conventional wisdom" rehasher.
Crawford also brings to light the debate about "bias." He correctly reminds readers that all journalists have bias. Sometimes the bias is for an ideology, sometimes for a person and sometimes for an issue. A good journalist is "Fair and Biased."
Bottom line, whether you are a casual follower of politics or an up-and-coming journalist/blogger, this is a must read book. You won't be disappointed.
His examples of how the First Amendment is damaged by the constant battling between the press and polaticans are troubling for all that believe that a free press is the only tool Americans have to protect our freedoms.
Crawford's insights are sharp and unique and therefore a must read for anyone that's interested in the present art of "the spin" and how it's used for both good and evil.
Crawford's last two chapters stretched out what was solid analysis on how politicians have handcuffed the media into being nothing more than lapdogs.
The first 75 pages are worth picking up and reading. Crawford reports how the media lost America's trust as politicians scream that the press is either biased, unfair or mean.
I always get a chuckle out of the Bush administration's treatment of Helen Thomas and other reporters. Whenever criticism strikes, to use an expression heard on Rush Limbaugh, the Bushies embrace "victimhood." And the public buys it. Rather than wanting to know the truth or get to the crux of the story, politicians frame the debate based on proxy issues like media bias.
I agree wholeheartedly with Crawford's take that reporters should remove this obsurd "objectivity" from their vernacular and lay it all out there as far as what they believe. When they go to a war zone, report what you see and make an educated assessment. That's the purpose of the press. They are not only the public's eyes and ears, but are supposedly intelligent enough to make educated assessments of what they see and hear.
Many less informed viewers need that. There is a difference between opinion and bias, but the politicians have embedded this idea in the public's mind that dissent is unpatriotic and combativeness is simply being rude.
We need more Helen Thomases and less lapdogs like Brit Hume.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
His assertion is that democracy is threatened because people don't believe the press. And people don't believe the press because politicians have been attacking it. How lame. Read morePublished on May 6, 2011 by David A. Hall
You need to write another book this next one about 9/11 how the media and politicians were coerced by the corporate rich to make it happen.Published on February 26, 2010 by Michael Jourdan
Craig Crawford is a political commentator who appears regularly on MSNBC and other news shows, he is also a fine and reliable writer at Congressional Quarterly. Read morePublished on October 14, 2007 by Aging Hipstorian
This is a well written and extremely important book. If I had to summarize it in a few words, it would be, in Craig Crawford's own words:
"Today's media is as bullied... Read more
I was drawn to this book by Crawford's unbottled on-air personality -- he's one of only two political commentators (Howard Fineman is the other) I'll always stop and listen to... Read morePublished on May 8, 2006 by Ronnoe Konnoe
"If the press is not believed because politicians have turned the public against it, then the press is not free, but under the thumbs of politicians. Read morePublished on March 22, 2006 by Loyd Eskildson
This book analyzes in detail how politicians manipulate the media by attacking journalists who ask tough questions. Read morePublished on December 8, 2005 by Airman Bob
Crawford has managed to rationilise the rivalry of the White House and government with that of the media. It truly is a war of words and subterfuge that renders the public mute. Read morePublished on October 16, 2005 by Handy wife