Fools for Scandal: How The Media Invented Whitewater

Fools for Scandal: How The Media Invented Whitewater

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by Gene Lyons
     
 
Before he created, with Joe Conason, The Hunting of the President, the critically acclaimed documentary film about Whitewater, Gene Lyons published his research into the Whitewater scandal in Harper's. That research later became a book - Fools for Scandal, which scathingly debunks the received wisdom that was handed down to the national media with the Whitewater

Overview

Before he created, with Joe Conason, The Hunting of the President, the critically acclaimed documentary film about Whitewater, Gene Lyons published his research into the Whitewater scandal in Harper's. That research later became a book - Fools for Scandal, which scathingly debunks the received wisdom that was handed down to the national media with the Whitewater scandal. Lyons shows the reader a media (especially The New York Times) that was driven to pin something - anything-on the Clintons, and that, in its impassioned quest for scandal, found itself making strange bedfellows with right-wing organizations such as Citizens United, and leading Republicans Al D'Amato and Lauch Faircloth. For anyone curious to understand how the printing press becomes a political machine, Fools for Scandal is illuminating, engaging, and revealing.

Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
Lyons makes a strong argument. His book should be uncomfortable reading for the management of the Times and the other big-time media.
New York Magazine
Lyons offers the first fully credible version of what happened.
LA Times Book Review
[His] bookwhich follows an earlier Harper's Magazine articleadds to the growing and legitimate argument that America's mainstream pressfar from being ideologicalhas simply gone bloodthirsty.
Cleveland Plain-Dealer
Lyons doesn't claim that the Clintons never did anything wrong, but he convincingly shows that many [Whitewater] charges against them are exaggerated, politically motivated or flat-out wrong.
American Spectator
Gene Lyons is more than just wrong.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
On March 8, 1992, the New York Times published an article by investigative reporter Jeff Gerth. The headline said, "Clintons Joined S&L Operator in an Ozark Real Estate Venture." That venture later became known as Whitewater. Lyons has written this timely, important book (based in part on an article that appeared in the October 1994 issue of Harper's Magazine) because he believes that Gerth, the Times and other news organizations have created a damaging political scandal out of misinterpretation, innuendo and a bias against Arkansas. Lyons (Widow's Web) surely knows that his book, if deemed believable, will help Clinton's reelection campaign and cleanse some of the dirt from the image of the President and the First Lady. The task is to determine the credibility of Lyons, an Arkansas native who is no friend of Bill and certainly no friend of major media organizations that have, he says, bungled the Clinton "scandal" stories, sometimes with malice aforethought. The verdict: Lyons is credible more often than not. His dense analyses of specific stories from the New York Times and elsewhere point out errors of fact and interpretation. The book would be far more convincing, however, if it included copies of documents referred to over and over as proof of media incompetence and/or ill will. The appendices that are included are helpful but not sufficient to make the strongest possible case. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Lyons argues that Whitewater is basically a hoax created and sustained by the media. He singles out the New York Times for special attention and offers a detailed critique of its Whitewater coverage; four major stories from the Times are included in the appendix. The partisan sources that journalists have relied on for their articles are documented here. Lyons, now a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a passionate and witty writer who has covered Whitewater for Harper's Magazine. Although it is too early for the definitive Whitewater book, and recent convictions and new unindicted co-conspirators test his argument, Lyons offers details for those paying close attention to the case. Add to journalism collections and to libraries where books on current events circulate well.Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ., Washington, D.C.
Newsday
He demonstrates pretty convincingly that the Times investigative reporter who broke the story ignored or didn't understand crucial information.
The Atlantic Monthly
[Lyons] makes a strong case that the whole Whitewater business is 'possibly the most politically charged case of journalistic malpractice in recent American history.'
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Drawing on years of newspapering, Lyons catalogs a disturbing list of mistakes and omissions that he found in stories by the national press, especially [The] New York Times. . .
The American Spectator
Gene Lyons is more than just wrong.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781879957527
Publisher:
Harper's Magazine Foundation
Publication date:
01/01/2010
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
939,817
Product dimensions:
5.61(w) x 8.34(h) x 0.72(d)

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Molly Ivins
An excellent exegesis of Whitewater.

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Fools for Scandal: How The Media Invented Whitewater 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gene Lyons a brilliant reporter traces the footsteps of Whitewater. Although you may not agree with his conclusions he points out several relevant facts. The book takes us through Whitewater and life long foes and friends of the Clintons. Often your friends help your foes just like Lyons points out. Regardless, public servants know the Appearance of Impropriety can be just as damaging as a proven impropriety. 17 convictions on Whitewater events is proof that something was wrong, just because it did not connect a president due to self imposed silence, illnesses and deaths of witnesses does not mean a media was after a president. What it means is questions were never answered at the beginning and changed at the end, leaving doubt and past history of a couple with dubious deceptive duplicity on past events. However, the author still points out items worthy of discussion but not complete exoneration. Whatever the authors says, the Clinton¿s did not help themselves by being caught in questionable dealing far above their intelligence.