Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth

Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth

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by Joe Conason
     
 

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In Big Lies, Joe Conason rips through the ten most damaging lies perpetrated by the right wing propaganda machine. This scathing, fact-filled analysis debunks it all:

-The myth that Republicans are fiscal geniuses and champions of free enterprise.
-The right's self-proclaimed monopoly on "family values."
-The conservative smearing of liberals asSee more details below

Overview

In Big Lies, Joe Conason rips through the ten most damaging lies perpetrated by the right wing propaganda machine. This scathing, fact-filled analysis debunks it all:

-The myth that Republicans are fiscal geniuses and champions of free enterprise.
-The right's self-proclaimed monopoly on "family values."
-The conservative smearing of liberals as unpatriotic and anti-American.
-And of course, the "compassionate conservatism" of George W. Bush. (It depends on the meaning of "compassionate.")

Big Lies confronts right-wing slander and bias with a long-awaited, badly-needed counterpunch to the deceptions that have plagued American politics for a generation.

Editorial Reviews

David Brock
"BIG LIES is must reading for anyone who wants to understand America today."
Harold Evans
"An important book for American democracy."
The Washington Post
For liberals like most of those whom Conason associates with, his book will at minimum serve as a compact attack guide. For conservatives, the book will at minimum serve as a compact guide on what they want to refute. Readers of all political persuasions who care about the quality, as well as the decibel level, of civic debate ought to hope that Conason's book circulates more efficiently across ideological lines than those previous books that scorn civility of any sort. — Steve Weinberg
USA Today
In 212 zippy pages, Conason, co-author of The Hunting of the President: The Ten Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton, does battle with conservative conventional wisdom with nary an apology. It's a book tailor-made for a group that has grown increasingly angry in recent years and has been lashing out in a variety of ways, including enthusiastic letter-writing campaigns to media outlets and a zesty variety of Weblogs. They're the folks who have decided they hate the reporting of Fox News Channel, conservative talk radio and all other manifestations of "the vast right-wing conspiracy." — Clara Frenk
Publishers Weekly
Liberals are fighting back, and Conason, a columnist for the New York Observer and Salon, delivers what he hopes will be a knockout blow to Ann Coulter (whom he accuses of "manufacturing... sham outrage for personal gain and political advantage") and her liberal-bashing comrades on the right. He lands some fine punches as he turns what he terms their "lies" back on themselves, amassing evidence that it's conservatives who are the elitists, who hold sway in the media, who violate family values (though Conason's chapter on what he casts as the hypocrisy of Newt Gingrich and his cohorts, trotting out one sexual transgression after another, quickly becomes distasteful). Conason's case is substantial, especially in dismissing conservatives' espousal of the free market-arguing that what they really support is selfish crony capitalism (he indicts the Bushes at length)- and in reviewing of Clinton's strong anti-al-Qaida campaign to counter charges that he was "soft" on terrorism. (Liberals will find it particularly delicious that then senator John Ashcroft led the battle against Clinton's effort to get government control over encryption software on civil liberties grounds.) But most of Conason's points are already well rehearsed, though liberals may find it useful to have them gathered in one volume. Despite conservative Republican election victories, Conason argues, polls show that most Americans sympathize with liberal positions on issues from the tax system to the environment. Still, it's not clear that what eventually becomes a tiresome litany of the sins of the right is the best way to remind Americans of where their sympathies really lie. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
"After decades of disinformation from the right, Americans associate the word liberal with a series of negative stereotypes," says Conason, New York Observer editor at large and coauthor of The Hunting of the President. He believes that we need "an answer to conservative propaganda that holds the right accountable for its lies and hypocrisy" and wrote this book to help set the record straight. Conason identifies ten "Big Lies" about Democrats and liberals, such as the myth that the media are liberally biased; that liberaes, there unpatriotic, soft on crime, and fiscally irresponsible; and that liberals promote immorality and vice. Then he methodically presents evidence to the contrary while showing how conservatives/Republicans fail to measure up to the standards of moral and fiscal responsibility they claim to exemplify. He examines Republicans' handling of the federal budget and questionable deals, such as Iran-Contra during the Reagan administration, to challenge conservative claims of fiscal responsibility. By enumerating the sex scandals surrounding Republican politicians like Henry Hyde, Dan Burton, and Newt Gingrich, Conason demonstrates a hypocritical "do as we say, not as we do" conservative mindset. Extensive notes document the proofs and charges, and the writing is entertaining and engaging. Recommended for political science collections in public and academic libraries.-Jill Ortner, Univ. at Buffalo Libs. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
New York Observer and Salon.com columnist Conason (co-author, The Hunting of the President, 2000) flushes the hypocrisy out of conservative rants and jibes at liberals. Would Americans ever take the bluster of the Rush Limbaughs and Ann Coulters seriously? No way: citizens of the Republic "believe in fairness, equality, opportunity and compassion; they reject social Darwinism and excessive privilege," writes Conason, who would like to bury once and for all "the buzz of conservative cant [that] creates an illusion of consensus." Here he takes on the most egregious examples of conservative demagoguery, playing their cards right back at them. Are conservatives more morally rectitudinous than their liberal colleagues? Ask Newt Gingrich, Helen Chenoweth, and the laughably hypocritical Coulter, who once remarked, "Let�s say I go out every night, I meet a guy and have sex with him. Good for me. I�m not married." Are conservatives great patriots and defenders of the land, while liberals and Democrats cower like curs and dodge the draft? Ask Daniel Inouye, John Kerry, and Max Cleland, and then ask George W. Bush, John Ashcroft, Tom DeLay, and Saxby Chambliss. Who defends the common man? Bush wraps his arms around the nine rescued Quecreek miners while he proposes to slash the Mine Safety and Health Administration budget. Who champions the free market? Not conservatives, avers Conason, with their taste for crony capitalism and "the ethos of privilege, power and entitlement." The author�s points are all well taken, though he regrettably apes without parody the kind of statistic-slinging that conservatives employ. A few real flinchers ("What conservatives really hate most is a fair fight, whichbrings out their inner wimp") don�t mar his best point: conservatism�s "steep descent from the standard of literacy and wit once set by William F. Buckley Jr." to the impoverished, squalid bleats of Dinesh D�Souza, Laura Ingraham, and Michael Savage. It�s not too difficult to make the more preposterous spoutings of the way-out right look ridiculous, but Conason has fun hitting his easy targets. Agents: Andrew Wylie, Jeff Posternak/Wylie Agency
Booklist
"Big Lies...takes up where Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media? left off... More raw meat for the lions ...."
New York Times
"BIG LIES is must reading for anyone who wants to understand America today."

— Paul Krugman

The Boston Phoenix
"...a valuable...book about a president and a political movement that are eating away at the roots of our democracy."
The New York Times
"Factually arresting."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312315610
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
06/15/2004
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.44(w) x 8.28(h) x 0.71(d)

Meet the Author

Joe Conason is the national correspondent for the New York Observer and writes a daily online journal for Salon. With Gene Lyons, he is the best-selling author of The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton. His writing and reporting have appeared in many publications, including Harper's, The Guardian, The Nation, and The New Republic. He also appears frequently as a commentator on television and radio.

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