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Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush

Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush

3.5 4
by Eric Boehlert

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Lapdogs is the first book to demonstrate that, for the entire George W. Bush presidency, the news media have utterly failed in their duty as watchdog for the public. In blistering prose, Eric Boehlert reveals how, time after time, the press chose a soft approach to covering the government, and as a result reported and analyzed crucial events incompletely and

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Lapdogs 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Umm, right wing media???? What planet does this fellow live on? The same media that gave Bill Clinton a pass on sexual harassment, and the unbelievable suicide of Vince Foster and Hillary's Rose Law Firm billing records has somehow become right wing? Perhaps, the problem is that America is under assault from islamo-fascism, and Bush is defending America. Unless you have a problem with defending America. Perhaps that is the real problem here.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read a lot of GWBush-era books in the past 3 years. This was among the best and timeliest. Reading Boehlert's book suffered from the book's many typos (one every other page, seemingly). But the book was worth its price, filling in many of the gaps found missing in earlier accounts of the mainstream media's failures.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Compliant, timid, slow-footed, afflicted with ¿lazy indifference,¿ and ¿obediently in step¿ with the Bush administration, the mainstream media is scolded by the author for demonstrating excessive deference to the agenda of the political right. Fearful of the charge of reporting with a ¿liberal bias¿ and lack of patriotism, mainstream news organizations (from the Washington Post, Newsweek, NBC, ABC, AP across the board) have let the country down. Consequently, they shoulder a distinct responsibility for the uncertain state of the union. Prolonged and widespread ¿media malpractice¿ has contributed to the Iraq quagmire, burgeoning deficits, eviscerated civil liberties, and confused evaluations of the true terrorist threat. These are among the problems flagging a press corps that at least until Katrina was somnambulant while gathering news. Thoughtful elements within the journalistic profession have pleaded mea culpa citing the disastrously incomplete and incompetent reporting prior to the invasion of Iraq. Rising far above being a mere diatribe against a negligent or rightward leaning journalistic establishment, Lapdogs is infused with documentation, detail, and chronology and thereby becomes scholarly all the while remaining eminently readable with a conversational style. By using techniques of content analysis bolstered by a close knit logical reasoning worthy of Bill Buckley, Boehlert convincingly illustrates how the mainstream media scrutinizes liberal politics more harshly, or dismissively, than conservative politics, how conservatives more often than liberals get away with fabricating reality, and why liberals could never get by with using the type of hate filled campaigns employed by the attack dogs on the right. Lapdogs can also be viewed as a series of enlightening case studies about mainstream news reporting. The scant coverage afforded the Downing Street memo until six weeks after its publication illustrates press lethargy and indifference. Tomlinson¿s bullying of PBS and the efforts of the Bush Administration to purchase journalists with cash illustrates right wing attempts to subvert of the First Amendment. The journalistic pass given George W. Bush¿s National Guard service is contrasted with the eager coverage and higher credibility the journalistic profession gave to O¿Neill¿s Swift Boat smears against John Kerry. ABC¿s internet blog The Note is taken to task for its uncritical promotion of Bush¿s Iraq policies. The CBS ¿ Dan Rather document scandal is portrayed as a stupid mistake, but also as a distraction from the larger issue of the true content of the Bush¿s National Guard record. Numerous instances of self-censorship are detailed such as editorial decisions to keep photographs of dead and wounded civilians and soldiers off TV and the mainstream media¿s shunning and ridicule of Scott Ritter who before the war in Iraq proclaimed that there were no WMDs. Also cited are examples of reporters receiving promotions or demotions depending upon their attitude toward the war in Iraq in its early stages. Finally, the run up to the war with Iraq under cover of WMDs is the capstone case study in pure journalistic negligence and lasting disservice to the American people. Helping to fill the void left by the mainstream media¿s new casualness toward critical issues are the bloggers who check facts and insist on coverage. Along with Jay Rosen of NYU, Boehlert sees bloggers taking up some of the slack left by the merger of news as entertainment whereby depth and understanding are sacrificed to the needs of corporate sponsorship. Of course, the mainstream media began taking closer looks after Katrina as the poll numbers sank with the American public outrunning the news dispensers. In sum, Boehlert¿s Lapdogs successfully turns the tables on Bernard Goldberg¿s Bias and goes a long way toward explaining why the mainstream media has not done the job that we have a right to expect of