The Obama Hate Machine: The Lies, Distortions, and Personal Attacks on the President – and Who is Behind Them by Bill Press is published by Thomas Dunn Press in 2012.
If I could outline the book briefly, there are three main topics:
- There are lots of nasty things said about Barack Obama that aren’t true
- The Koch brothers organized and paid for the Tea Party
- The media no longer report facts, but rebroadcast what “newsmakers” say.
There is a lot of material supporting that simple outline.
I think most people reading this blog are well aware of many things said about Barack Obama that aren’t true. We focus on a narrow slice of that rhetoric, crank claims about the President’s birth; however, we see “creeping socialism” (as a topic) and Obama associations. Mr. Press gives lots more examples, and points out why they shouldn’t have been taken seriously by anyone.
The section on the Koch brothers and their billion-dollar tentacles in conservatism and the Tea Party in particular, through a mind-boggling list of front groups, is impressive in scope; however, I gather that this material is not original to Press, but the work of others (properly attributed).
Finally, Press says that the media today don’t make judgments on the truth of what they report, but report whatever the newsmakers say and what other newsmakers say against it. He gives the example of Sarah Palin’s “Death Panels” that got widespread coverage in the press, despite the fact that there was no truth in it. This hands off approach, says Press, lets hate speech and misinformation echo instead of being snuffed.
It’s a big book and it documents a real phenomenon. Conservatives won’t believe a word of it; progressives already know most of it (except for the Koch details). The book only had a couple of errors about birther-related statements. You might like it. I thought it was, on a scale of crap to enlightenment, rated OK.