From the Back Cover
Don’t believe everything you read.
Behind most major political stories there is an agenda: To destroy an idea or the people advancing it. Maybe you watched someone on the news report that Donald Trump is a racist misogynist, read that Hillary Clinton used a body double, or heard that Bernie Sanders cheated in the primary. Regardless of accuracy, the themes get repeated until they become accepted by many as the truth. It’s called “the smear.” Sophisticated operatives work behind the scenes to establish narratives, manipulate journalists, and shape the images you see every day. Nothing is by accident.
Now hard-hitting investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, the New York Times bestselling author of Stonewalled, takes you behind the scenes of the modern smear machine, exploring how operatives from corporations and both sides of the political aisle have manipulated a complicit mainstream media to make disinformation, rumor, and dirty tricks defining traits of our democracy. Pulling back the curtain on the shady world of opposition research, she reveals how those in power create well-funded, organized attack campaigns to take down their enemies and influence your opinions, offering a detailed examination of the think tanks, super PACs, LLCs, and nonprofits that have become the hidden backers of some of the biggest smears in American politics.
And she doesn’t just tell stories—she names names, sharing her deeply researched account of how smears take shape and who their perpetrators are—from Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal to liberal political operative David Brock, who, along with his expansive Media Matters for America empire, has been rewriting the rules of the smear game for decades while raking in millions of dollars in generous compensation. In addition, Attkisson reveals outrageous transactional journalism and exposes scandalous emails behind the smear industrial complex, showing how Campaign 2016 became the exclamation point on the thirty-year evolution of the smear machine. Dissecting the most divisive, partisan election in American history, she explores how both sides used every smear tactic as a political weapon, culminating in Donald Trump’s hard-fought victory, even as his detractors have continued their smears against him into the Oval Office.
What emerges is a timely assault on the mainstream media’s willingness to sacrifice ethics for clicks, and the cynical politicians and high-paid consultants who exploit this reality. A critical discussion for this perilous moment, The Smear is a disturbing look at how the black market serving professional propagandists really works.
About the Author
In 2013, she received an Emmy Award for OutstandingInvestigative Journalism for her reporting on "The Business of Congress," whichincluded an undercover investigation into fundraising by Republican freshmen.She received two other Emmy nominations in 2013 for "Benghazi: Dying forSecurity" and "Green Energy Going Red." Additionally, Attkisson received a 2013Daytime Emmy Award as part of the CBSSunday Morning team's entry for Outstanding Morning Program for her report:"Washington Lobbying: K-Street Behind Closed Doors." In September 2012, Attkisson received the Emmy for OutstandingInvestigative Journalism and the RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence inInvestigative Reporting for the "Gunwalker: Fast and Furious" story.
Attkisson received an Investigative Emmy Award in 2009 forher exclusive investigations into the Bush TARP bank bailout. She received anInvestigative Emmy Award in 2002 for her series of exclusive reports about Red Cross mismanagement. She has received numerous Gerald Loeb Finalist awards, including in 2016, and Emmy nominations for reporting on Follow the Money, Congressional oversight, aid to Haiti, Firestone tires, and dangers of prescription drugs and vaccines (including links to autism).
Attkisson is one of the few journalists to have flown in aB-52 on a combat mission and in an F-15 fighter jet Combat AirPatrol flight. She's a fourth degree black belt in TaeKwonDo.