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Fraud: The Strategy Behind the Bush Lies and Why the Media Didn't Tell You Hardcover – February 1, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.; First Edition edition (February 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402202520
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402202520
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,599,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William Hare on March 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
George Orwell's masterfully prescient futuristic novel "1984," which the British author wrote in 1948, has been emulated strategically by another George now ensconced in the White House. The concept of "doublespeak" has reached new levels even for a political world in which spin control had been one of the main currencies of the realm for some time.
Paul Waldman begins with the premise adhered to by so many given George W. Bush's long record of grammatical errors and misstatements of fact, that he is exceptionally stupid. While Waldman considers Bush a far cry from an intellectual, he carves out a shrewdly analytical argument concerning Bush using perceived ignorance as a mask for deceit.
Waldman contrasts Bush and his 2000 presidential opponent Al Gore in an interesting manner. Whereas the studious Gore was classified as a "policy wonk" who never saw a policy discussion in which he did not want to participate, Bush fell into the opposite category. Here is a man who enjoys clearing brush at his Crawford ranch and watching baseball. He disdains any type of discussion necessitating deep thought and is known for asking subordinates to shorten outlines to the one or two most basic points. He does not want to be bothered by devilish details.
When the media began reporting the 2000 fall campaign, a pattern emerged. Bush could make all kinds of mistakes and they would be regarded as innocent little slips based on a lack of study and intellectual curiosity.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is one of the best, and concise expositions of the Bush approach to politics out there. The relentless dissembling and masking of the true character, intent, and actions of the Bush administration has been more than effective. One could use it as an example of Machiavelli in action--never reveal your true motives, feign decency and piety while being utterly ruthless, and above all, align with and support the rich and powerful at the expense of all others.
The value of the book is how the author reveals the extent and comprehensiveness of the fraud. It isn't just a few lies here and there like most politicians, but deception and misinformation as a method and means of governing. Starting with inventing a "good ol boy" personna for Bush before the election, to hiding behind false labels pinned to legislation (the "Clear Skies" initiative)and, of course, the non-existant WMD. The author tackles the deception around the budget busting tax cut for rich Americans especially well.
The participation of the media in this fraud is scary because democracy ultimately depends on an informed electorate.
Anyone, who doesn't want to remain willfully ignorant regarding the pathology of Bush and his cronies needs to read this book.
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By A Customer on January 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is no political screed but a fact-filled, immensely reasonable look at the realities of the Bush administration. Well, let's call them what they are, what the book calls them, but the press will not: lies. And the failure of the press to expose those lies is at the sad heart of this beautifully argued book.
The author adeptly shows how a faked candidate has fooled much of the country with a faked presidency. It took effort to disguise the President's privilege, past and positions on many issues before the election, but spin and outright lies aided his acession to the highest office in the land, and continue to convince far too many people that this man is a man of the people, honest, forthright, caring, devoted to freedom.
For those who are Republicans or independents wondering if there's any truth here, I would recommend going right to the section that discusses how the Bush campaign fought and destroyed John McCain with lies so ugly they're almost unbelievable. But then it's all true, as is the Orwellian nature of an administration that camouflages the reality of most of its policies with lovely rhetoric. At a time when dissent--which Jefferson considered one of a citizen's highest duties--is miscast by our present administration and allies in Congress and the media, as treason, reading this book is an act of true patriotism.
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By A Customer on January 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is very interesting. I'm pretty much on the fence politically, but have always believed that the media was in favor of the left. The examples Fraud provides and the explanations of the Bush strategies were baffling and really changed my opinion. I also appreciated the readability of this book.
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Format: Hardcover
For the last several agonizing years, the news media has been presenting an incredibly idealized image of President George W. Bush to the American public, as an endearingly simple minded but extraordinarily honest and decent "just plain folk" type of guy. We have only very recently been able to get glimpses of the real truth about the man, thanks to the eye opening works of great alarm ringers like Greg Palast, Richard Clarke, Joe Conason, John Dean, and Kevin Phillips. Paul Waldman's FRAUD is a very good companion piece to many of the revelatory Bush books that recently dominated the bestseller charts. This fine work stands out just a little from the crowded field because not only is it a horror-stricken critique of the great deceiver himself, it goes a step further and finds the media itself fully culpable in having allowed Bush's flagrant lies to be spread and accepted by the public with only the most minor hints of journalistic questioning. The Bush White House's continual distortions and half truths about virtually every aspect of the current Administration's ongoing assault on the well-being of America has been disturbing enough, but having the country's major newspapers, magazines and TV news channels cheerfully spew out the relentless deceptions has been infuriating in the extreme.

Waldman is particularly insightful in his discussion of the ongoing insidious Republican Smear Machine that utilizes the media to bamboozle a gullible public into believing that anyone who dares question the current administration must either be a fool or a traitor. Waldman paints a portrait of Bush that is obviously all too real--a cold-blooded, mentally challenged and power hungry multi-millionaire who flagrantly serves the whims of Big Business while completely ignoring the needs of the people. Read FRAUD and find out the ugly truth about an ugly man.
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