- File Size: 1043 KB
- Print Length: 425 pages
- Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (November 4, 2014)
- Publication Date: November 4, 2014
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00HLIYWA8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,049 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington Kindle Edition
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“Attkisson offers a harrowing and gripping account of journalism as practiced these days in Washington. She skillfully unveils how she discovered the secret scheme to spy on her. The larger and more disturbing takeaway is how the mainstream are falling down on the job.” (Jeff Gerth, Pulitzer Prize winning former investigative reporter for the New York Times) --This text refers to the paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
Who’s been hacking Sharyl Attkisson’s computers? Computers that turn themselves on in the night, make strange noises, then shut themselves down. Whoever is doing it is using highly sophisticated spyware available only to our top intelligence agencies. Is someone sending Attkisson a message?
Washington, D.C., has always been a tough town for investigative journalists. But in the age of Obama, the government has taken the tried-and-true techniques of bureaucratic stonewalling to unprecedented heights. What’s more, it has added harassment, intimidation, and outright spying to the mix.
Through more than thirty years as an award-winning investigative reporter, Sharyl Attkisson fought tirelessly to uncover wrongdoing by those in power, whether major corporations, government officials, or presidential administrations of both parties. But when she started looking into stories involving the Obama administration’s mistakes and misjudgments in a series of high-profile cases—stories few in mainstream journalism would touch—she was confronted with the administration’s use of hardball tactics to discourage, block, and actively suppress her investigative work.
A dogged reporter with a well-earned reputation as a “pit bull,” Attkisson filed a series of groundbreaking stories on the Fast and Furious gunwalking program, Obama’s green energy boondoggle, the unanswered questions about Benghazi, and the disastrous rollout of Obamacare. Her news reports were met with a barrage of PR warfare tactics, including emails and phone calls up the network chain of command, criticism from paid-for commenters and bloggers, and a campaign of character assassination that continues to this day. Most disturbing of all, Attkisson reveals that as she broke news on Fast and Furious and Benghazi, her computers and phone lines were hacked and bugged by an unrevealed but tremendously sophisticated party.
Stonewalled is the story of the Obama administration’s efforts to monitor journalists, intimidate and harass opposition groups, and spy on private citizens. But it is also a searing indictment of the timidity of the press and the dangerous decline of investigative journalism and unbiased truth telling in America today.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
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Unlike in the 1970’s and 80’s when the media freely investigated and reported on all manner of stories that were embarrassing to foreign or domestic governments, and journalists were highly respected as truth-tellers, the mainstream media has been tamed and dumbed-down in recent years. Americas news outlets and media corporations have been progressively bought up by powerful monopolies and become simple propaganda tools concentrated in ever fewer hands. As such, journalists and newspapers are discouraged from printing or publishing stories that offend special interest groups. This sinister and sneaking transition has gone largely unnoticed by the public, although the signs are there that they have started to wake up.
Attkisson takes us back to the big stories, cover-ups and scandals of the Obama Administration. Benghazi. The fast and furious. The massive waste of tax dollars over electric cars. In each case we live vicariously through her intricate memories of the players, the obfuscators, the liars and misleaders who both think they can wrap the media around their finger while at the same time refusing to supply information that by right belongs to the public. As she writes, we get a window into her mind and start to think like an investigator, while simultaneously realizing how devalued and increasingly impossible it is to be an honest or credible journalist in this day and age.
I also find it amusing that this book represents one employees revenge on her employer. Can you imagine working somewhere for several years, taking notes every time your boss does something stupid- and then publishing it as a worldwide bestseller years later? On one level, that is what this book is about.
Despite what Attkisson's detractors might say...she is an award winning journalist with high standards for delivering hard-hitting, well documented and researched news. And she isn't liked by a lot of folks in the Press and Washington for it who try to label her as a partisan nut job.
In one area her observations have already been clearly confirmed for me. While watching a local newscast today the talking heads cheerfully reported about a viral video dog sitting on a lawn-mower, a fast-food chain's expanded breakfast menu...and a long sympathetic report about protesters who are being injured at Trump rallies.
Reading Attkisson's book will clear away any fog you might have about this kind of "news".
Anyway, I took a chance on this book because I'd not heard anything about it...but found it very interesting and informative.
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Also very useful to put into perspective the current "treatment" of the Trump administration in the media, and the ever increasing double standards and bullying techniques "journalists" (if such a thing still exists) are now shamelessly using.
She takes the reader through a series of case-studies of obfuscation and worse by the Obama White House, the State Department and Justice. She shows how lies were told by the offices of state, backed up by the various departmental spokesmen. Accurate information would be divulged painfully slowly, often after seemingly interminable freedom-of-information requests. Sharyl Attkisson would be assailed by hectoring and abusive calls, delivered by Myrmidons dedicated to protecting the administration's almighty scandals from receiving attention. Numerous times, she reminded Washington spokesmen of the actual meaning of "public servant". Even when the official story changed, as new evidence leaked, officialdom felt no shame in tweaking the narrative only slightly, until the next emerging evidence blew that story out of the water, too.
All of the while, only a fraction of the "news" networks in the United States ever touched any of Attkisson's stories. Those who disparage her would claim that that is evidence of flaws in her reporting, but those flaws are not apparent. The real problem, by which Attkisson is untainted, is a systematic bias among the so-called "mainstream media" in the United States. Entire news networks turned a blind eye to rock-solid news stories, to avoid damaging, or upsetting, the Obama White House. A good example, but far from the only one, is that of the "Fast and Furious" scandal, a gun-running operation into Mexico, conducted by the Justice Department, which, as of several years ago, had led to the loss of at least two hundred lives. The numbers of the dead only ever move in one direction - a universal truth (but possibly too challenging for MSNBC). Federal officials allowed thousands of firearms to cross into Mexico, supposedly to enable drug kingpins to be identified, except that there was never any mechanism to link the bigwigs to the AR15s. How many drug lords are daft enough to get their fingerprints on firearms, subsequently found at crime scenes?
"Fast and Furious" exposed numerous lies in Washington, starting with the one that said it was nothing but a local operation, operated as a virtually private ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms - a subdivision of the Department of Justice) enterprise, out of Sleepyville, Arizona. The trouble was that it extended across the rest of the DoJ, too, which included the FBI. Since it concerned cross-border considerations, it stood to reason that both the State Department (the US version of the Foreign Office and even more useless) and the Department of Homeland Security had to know what was going on. There is one (and only one) over-arching body which brings these powerful departments together. It's called the White House. If Obama didn't know what was going on in his house, that was a scandal in itself. If he did know, that's Watergate Cubed.
Members of the CBS team recognised that Attkisson had found dynamite. Some supported her, but others worked equally hard to undermine her efforts. Through the rest of her time at CBS, getting a story broadcast proved harder and harder. She points out that she often received extensive, very enthusiastic support, from all levels of her editorial team and of CBS management, when her story was well beyond the research stage, only to have the article torpedoed, as it neared presentation. (She is intensely loyal to her associates and is able to cite those who supported her.) "Fast and Furious" is only one of the Obama scandals which Sharyl Attkisson documents here. The others are just as bad, from the Administration's point of view.
There is another aspect to Sharyl Attkisson's experience which deserves attention. She was subjected to astonishingly intrusive surveillance on both her CBS-supplied laptop and her private computer equipment, as well as on her professional and private phones. Over some years, she had her computers examined extensively, by various independent experts, who agreed that her systems had been compromised, to the extent of spying on text, voice and video files; of being able to monitor every keystroke she made; of being capable (as Attkisson captured on camera) of deleting her files remotely.
Abuse of the press has occurred in every jurisdiction with a nominally "free press". All the same, the post-Wilkes press in Great Britain was much healthier than is the Obama version in the United States. In her way, Sharyl Attkisson ought to be Washington's Wilkes. She's not, but it's through no fault of her own that she isn't. The mainstream has to stop being so invertebrate and start to get behind Sharyl Attkisson, if it can find anyone else like her.
There was a freedom-of-information request, for a subject connected to one of Sharyl Attkisson's investigations. The FOI request was seemingly endlessly deferred. Finally, it was answered, heavily redacted (i.e with large segments blacked out). Because the FOI request had only, in the end, been satisfied, in a very limited way, in response to a right-of-centre think-tank, the mainstream media and the Obama administration treated Attkisson's own, much earlier, request for the same information as proof of right-wing bias.
She is not the best stylist in the world. French historians love the "historic present", which is supposed to make the narrative more vivid. When you confuse the "historic" with the actual present, as Sharyl Attkisson tends to do, you just muddle the present and the past. Why confuse such a powerful testimony? She argues, with rock-solid evidence, that her critics will use any minor detail to undermine a whole article. She didn't need to help them. That said (and even with the persistent present tense), Sharyl Attkisson certainly gets her point across.
Sharyl Attkisson refers several times, with obvious pride, to her being a graduate of the University of Florida's school of journalism. The first couple of times, I thought, "So what?" Then I asked where all the other Florida graduates went. After that, I wondered what had happened to the journalists who had graduated from a zillion other US campuses. Florida should be proud of being the alma mater of Sharyl Attkisson, but only if it trumpets that fact from the rooftops. Until those universities produce graduates with even a hint of Sharyl Attkisson's abilities, they need to be asking themselves what they're doing wrong.
The take away from this book is that you cannot and should not ever trust the legacy "main stream" media to be giving you the unvarnished truth. It is filtered and homogenized to suit the political and/or monetary interests of the corporate hierarchy. The issue of just why and by whom Ms. Attkisson's computers systems were monitored and tampered with will provide many AhHa moments for the conspiracy lover in all of us.
All in all a great book. HIghly recommended.