The Smear

The Smear

How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote

eBook - 2017
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Behind most major political stories there is an agenda: To destroy an idea or the people advancing it. Maybe you watched someone on the news report that Donald Trump is a racist misogynist, read that Hillary Clinton used a body double, or heard that Bernie Sanders cheated in the primary. Regardless of accuracy, the themes get repeated until they become accepted by many as the truth. It's called "the smear." Sophisticated operatives work behind the scenes to establish narratives, manipulate journalists, and shape the images you see every day. Nothing is by accident. Now investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson takes you behind the scenes of the modern smear machine, exploring how operatives from corporations and both sides of the political aisle have manipulated a complicit mainstream media to make disinformation, rumor, and dirty tricks defining traits of our democracy. Pulling back the curtain on the shady world of opposition research, she reveals how those in power create well-funded, organized attack campaigns to take down their enemies and influence your opinions, offering an examination of the think tanks, super PACS, LLCs, and nonprofits that have become the hidden backers of some of the biggest smears in American politics. And she doesn't just tell stories -- she names names, sharing her account of how smears take shape and who their perpetrators are -- from Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal to liberal political operative David Brock, who, along with his expansive Media Matters for America empire, has been rewriting the rules of the smear game for decades while raking in millions of dollars in generous compensation. In addition, Attkisson reveals transactional journalism and exposes scandalous emails behind the smear industrial complex, showing how Campaign 2016 became the exclamation point on the thirty-year evolution of the smear machine. Dissecting the most divisive, partisan election in American history, she explores how both sides used every
smear tactic as a political weapon, culminating in Donald Trump's hard-fought victory, even as his detractors have continued their smears against him into the Oval Office. What emerges is an assault on the mainstream media's willingness to sacrifice ethics for clicks, and the cynical politicians and high-paid consultants who exploit this reality. A critical discussion for this perilous moment, The Smear is a look at how the black market serving professional propagandists really works.
Published: New York, NY :, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062468185
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file, rda


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Nov 03, 2018

Under "How to discern what is Fake News 101" should be listed this book. Sheryl Attkisson has learned the hard way about mainstream media lies, censorship, and propaganda. She gets it. And she understood the vaccine travesty way before other journalists. It is past time for the public to wake up to the truth about smear campaigns and propaganda media lies about this and move on into a new future where we have our own sources that we vett and trust ourselves. I have access to my President on Twitter every day...and every member of Congress if I wish. I have every journalist. Every trend setter. I am smarter than the Mockingbird media and more discerning. CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS...they are useless and irrelevent. Social media is a propaganda tool - we can't use that anymore. Alt media through Youtube, Gab, Real, Voat, Reddit...and others are where we get reliable news. If that is news to you - then you should probably go back and reread Sheryl's book with a more open and unaffiliated mind.

Oct 03, 2018

This book is a real eye opener. It documents how powerful groups are manipulating the media and people. After reading this book I am more skeptical of all the media and groups that purport to be on the people's side. I am learning to ask more questions and not take news or people at face value since that is what the powerful groups are counting on.
I wish more schools would teach children and college students how to ask more questions and keep an open mind.
It is a travesty that people's lives and careers can be destroyed by rumors and lies by powerful groups.

Sep 11, 2018

[Update: For the immediate commenter below:
On 12/29/12, President Obama signed HR 4310, the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1078 (thomas.loc. gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.4310
of the bill authorizes the use of propaganda inside the US, which had previously been banned since 1948 when the Smith-Mundt Act was passed.

[Update: For the commenter, Lunabianca: I've never viewed Fox // News \\ and as I have mentioned in several previous book reviews, there is no such thing as a Fox News since Murdoch's News Corporation successfully won several federal lawsuits whereby the courts ruled it was legal to fictionalize the news in America. Since the past president, Barack Obama, signed legislation legalizing the government to propagandize the public, something which had previously been illegal in America, there are no official media conduits [save the occasional KPFA show from Berkeley] in America. Perhaps you believe every neocon who claims to be a democrat, such as the Clintons and Obama, because you have never familiarized yourself with their political records, which is indicative of a very lazy person!]
Amazing! I have never, ever heard of this // investigative journalist \\ - - wonder why that would be? Perhaps since she has never exposed any real facts; something which would stick in one's mind?
Did she uncover George W. Bush's actual non-existent military record? Did she uncover serious facts which the Fake News refused to cover in the assassinations of President Kennedy, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sen. Bobby Kennedy?

Sep 10, 2018

@StarGladiator or others who know where following statement came from:

Could you elaborate your statement "Barack Obama, signed legislation legalizing the government to propagandize the public, something which had previously been illegal in America,"


Mar 11, 2018

An excellent book by one of the few remaining journalists who still investigates and researches her topics. Whether you are liberal or conservative, there are many organizations out to influence you. If you want to understand how you are being "managed", read this book.

Jan 09, 2018

“Sharyl Attkisson Got A Show After Years Of Pushing Misinformation And Conspiracies”
by Hannah Groch-Begley, posted October 2, 2015 at Media Matters For America
“More embarrassing anti-vaccine reporting from CBS News's Sharyl Attkisson”
by Seth Mnookin, posted March 31, 2011
“Sharyl Attkisson and CBS News: An epic fail in reporting on the murder of autistic teen Alex Spourdalakis”
by David Gorski, posted September 2, 2013, at Science-Based Medicine
“Disgraced CBS Reporter Resigns Causing Fox News To Weep (And Lie About Benghazi)”
by Mark NC, posted March 12, 2014

Jan 02, 2018

When one tries to get a balanced view of The News, what one hears more and more of is a conspiracy of the Leftist Media, C.I.A., and F.B.I. What a cabal they must be. This book along with "Rogue Spooks," by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann, offers evidence that this cabal is in cahoots to overthrow Democracy and enshrine the threat of Liberalism, Socialism and FDR economics. One can read these books for a equal point of view and then discard, or examine points, based on pragmatic empirical sense. My observation of these two books is that they seem to be blatantly biased to an end that has no currency. All they do is point fingers at the windmills that blow fresh air, left and right. A metaphoric, practical resolution was hoped for but is sadly lacking.

Dec 27, 2017

This book was a terrible disappointment! The SMEAR was just another example of propaganda. While the summery on the book flap says that it gives an account of how "corporations and both sides of the political isle" are using smear tactics, its focus is biased and one sided. On page 250, the author writes "Suffice to say those accused of producing or being fake news tend to define it in terms that exclude themselves and point to the other guys" This describes Attkisson book. NOT WORTH READING!!!

Sep 21, 2017

A must read.

Aug 29, 2017

Sort of okay. I've caught some of Attkisson's public appearances on 'tv' over the last few years. This book is a rehash of all that with more recent stuff since Nov. 2016. Nothing new, and mostly not terribly deep. She's not a great journalist, mostly a trend follower, and that lack of depth comes thru in this book. I had reserved the book, did a quick read when it came in, canceled my hold; there really wasn't anything new or important, tho the tone was all outrage and crisis, told by her very crusading self. Hopefully someday a real investigative researcher will cover this.

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