Fooling America: How Washington Insiders Twist the Truth and Manufacture the Conventional Wisdom

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Fooling America looks at the trivializing of U.S. decision-making and its disastrous impact on the nation. Focusing on how Washington's Conventional Wisdom distorts the public debate, the book explains why the national government and news media have failed to address the country's deepening problems. The crisis, the book argues, rests with a political-social elite that has lost touch with reality. Today's Washington insiders--the image-conscious politicians, the smug TV pundits, the hip journalists and the ...
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1992 Hard cover First edition. First edition stated, First printing New in new dust jacket. 336 p. Orders are processed 7 days a week. We value your satisfaction and our ... feedback! Thanks. == 163 == Read more Show Less

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Overview

Fooling America looks at the trivializing of U.S. decision-making and its disastrous impact on the nation. Focusing on how Washington's Conventional Wisdom distorts the public debate, the book explains why the national government and news media have failed to address the country's deepening problems. The crisis, the book argues, rests with a political-social elite that has lost touch with reality. Today's Washington insiders--the image-conscious politicians, the smug TV pundits, the hip journalists and the socially agile cocktail party set--are more interested in who's "in" and who's "out," what's hot and what's not, than in what's happening to the country. This fascination with superficial trends and the endless pronouncements of politically safe insights lie at the heart of the Conventional Wisdom, known as CW to the capital's aficionados. Guided by the CW's judgment on what is news, the well-paid Washington press corps managed to miss--or severely underplay--every major scandal of the past decade. These include such catastrophes as the S&L debacle, the Iran-contra affair, the plundering of Wall Street, and Saddam Hussein's military buildup (arranged with secret White House help). In the hands of government public-relations experts, the Conventional Wisdom even functioned as an enforcement mechanism to punish the few independent-minded souls left in Washington. During the 1980's, out-of-step journalists and politicians discovered that to wander past the CW's boundary cast them as outsiders in a city that values, above all else, insiderdom and access. In the final chapter, Robert Parry offers a set of proposals for the country to escape this tyranny of the Conventional Wisdom. But there are no easy answers. Most important, the public must demand that journalists get serious about their constitutional responsibility to inform the nation. Voters must keep focused on the pressing issues before the country, rather than be diverted by symbols and trivia. Overall, t
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
How could the Washington press corps miss, or report tardily on, the savings-and-loan debacle, Iran-Contra abuses, Saddam Hussein's Western-backed military buildup and nearly every other major scandal of the 1980s? Parry, a former reporter for Newsweek and the Associated Press, faults the major news media for cozying up to the political elite and suppressing stories that go beyond the conventional wisdom dictated by the Washington/New York government, business and journalistic establishments. Crucial reading for citizens who want to be informed of the news behind the news, this compelling report is replete with examples of media cowardice and kowtowing to power. Parry delivers a damning account of the media's selling of the CIA-funded Contra army to the American public, the demonization of longtime CIA employee Manuel Noreiga, the Reagan administration's propaganda apparatus (operating out of the National Security Council) to create a pro-interventionist mindset, President Bush's professed ignorance of Iran-Contra abuses, and the press's failure to cover CIA terrorist campaigns abroad under Bush, its former director. (July)
Library Journal
Given the clear indications of the political alienation of a broad spectrum of the American public, Parry's well-documented and fascinating book could be one of the most important in this national election year. ``Conventional wisdom'' is defined as ``the collective judgment of that community of insiders--what the Washington-New York elites in government, journalism, academia and business think . . . is true about any number of hot topics.'' And to assure the validity of such CW, Parry says, the public is lied to over and over again. The author documents his charges by taking the reader through the machinations of the Iran-contra scandal, the 1988 presidential election, the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill Supreme Court hearings, and the use by the federal government of what is euphemistically called ``public diplomacy,'' i.e., illegal domestic governmental propaganda supported by taxpayer dollars. Parry's muscular closing chapter on America's future outlines 14 ways the public can act to ``demand an end to Washington's antidemocratic elitism.'' Highly recommended for all libraries.-- Chet Hagan, Berks Cty. P.L. System, Pa.
Booknews
Investigative reporter Parry details how CW (conventional wisdom) regarding national and international issues is deliberately manipulated, and how journalists find themselves in trouble when they try to go beyond. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688109271
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 336

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