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The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote Hardcover – June 27, 2017

4.8 out of 5 stars 1,068 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Fake News. 

Russian hackers. 

Pizzagate.

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

Sharyl Attkisson has been a working journalist for more than thirty-five years and is host and managing editor of the nonpartisan Sunday morning TV program "Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson." She has covered controversies under the administrations of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, emerging with a reputation, as the Washington Post put it, as a “persistent voice of news-media skepticism about the government’s story.” She is the recipient of five Emmy Awards and an Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting. She has worked at CBS News, PBS, and CNN and is a fifth degree blackbelt master in Taekwondo.


Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.09 pounds
  • Hardcover : 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0062468162
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0062468161
  • Dimensions : 6 x 1.01 x 9 inches
  • Publisher : Harper (June 27, 2017)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 1,068 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
1,068 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on July 5, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on July 1, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

O. G. M. Morgan
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding exposé of the politicisation of American journalism.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 27, 2017
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5 people found this helpful
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D L
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of the smear techniques mentioned have now crossed the pond
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 10, 2018
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4 people found this helpful
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CBW
5.0 out of 5 stars How modern politics works, (or doesn't).
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 16, 2018
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One person found this helpful
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Ann Hardy
5.0 out of 5 stars very revealing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 7, 2019
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San Miguel
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 9, 2018
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4 people found this helpful
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