Spin This!: All the Ways We Don't Tell the Truth

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We're all familiar with the warning, "Don't believe everything you see or hear." Bill Press, the popular co-host of CNN's Crossfire, will have you wondering whether you should believe anything at all.
Spin -- intentional manipulation of the truth -- is everywhere. It's in the White House, in the courtrooms, in headlines and advertising slogans. Even couples on dates -- not to mention book jackets -- are guilty of spin. Now, analyst Bill Press freeze-frames the culture of spin to investigate what exactly spin is, who does it and why, and its impact on American society as a whole.
Depending upon who is doing it, spinning can mean anything from portraying a difficult situation in the best possible light to completely disregarding the facts with the intent of averting embarrassment or scandal. Using examples drawn from recent history -- the Clinton presidency, the Florida recount, and the Bush White House -- Press first probes spin's favorite haunt: politics. In addition to surveying the incarnations of spin in the fields of journalism, law, and advertising, Press also chews on the spin of sex and "dating," a word that has become the very embodiment of spin. Perhaps surprisingly, however, Press argues that spin isn't all bad, and that without it the harsh truths of our times might be too tough to swallow.
With the same keen sense of humor that helped make CNN's Crossfire television's premier debate show and the limited run of The Spin Room so popular, Press turns the tables on the prime purveyors of spin -- called spin doctors -- noting some of their biggest guffaws and blunders. As Press notes, it has become abundantly clear that the twenty-first century, beginning as it has with a president who was "spun into office," will be a fertile stomping ground for spin.
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About the author

Bill Press is the author of seven books and the host of radio and television’s nationally syndicated The Bill Press Show. He is a former host of MSNBC’s Buchanan and Press and CNN’s Crossfire and The Spin Room, whose professional accolades include four Emmy Awards and a Golden Mike Award. He lives in Washington, DC.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jan 3, 2002
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780743444583
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / General
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / Political Process / Political Parties
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Modern presidents are usually depicted as party "predators" who neglect their parties, exploit them for personal advantage, or undercut their organizational capacities. Challenging this view, Presidential Party Building demonstrates that every Republican president since Dwight D. Eisenhower worked to build his party into a more durable political organization while every Democratic president refused to do the same. Yet whether they supported their party or stood in its way, each president contributed to the distinctive organizational trajectories taken by the two parties in the modern era.

Unearthing new archival evidence, Daniel Galvin reveals that Republican presidents responded to their party's minority status by building its capacities to mobilize voters, recruit candidates, train activists, provide campaign services, and raise funds. From Eisenhower's "Modern Republicanism" to Richard Nixon's "New Majority" to George W. Bush's hopes for a partisan realignment, Republican presidents saw party building as a means of forging a new political majority in their image. Though they usually met with little success, their efforts made important contributions to the GOP's cumulative organizational development. Democratic presidents, in contrast, were primarily interested in exploiting the majority they inherited, not in building a new one. Until their majority disappeared during Bill Clinton's presidency, Democratic presidents eschewed party building and expressed indifference to the long-term effects of their actions.


Bringing these dynamics into sharp relief, Presidential Party Building offers profound new insights into presidential behavior, party organizational change, and modern American political development.

The presidency, in Theodore Roosevelt's famous words, is a Bully Pulpit. No one has studied the presidency from this vantage point. This book, in a sense, is a study of American political history seen through the prism of selected presidential addresses. It reveals how presidents used major addresses to create a theme for their administrations, to introduce history-making legislation or programs, or to rally successfully a majority of the nation behind their policies. No other book has examined the major presidential addresses--their construction and their impact--as history. No other book examines, in such detail, the background of the speechwriters who drafted the addresses. James C. Humes, a former White House speechwriter, has a unique understanding of the process of presidential speech-drafting.

A single speech can be a defining point in American history, such as the Kennedy inaugural (Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country), or a rallying cry, such as Franklin Roosevelt's inaugural (The only thing we have to fear is fear itself). It can become an American creed as did the Gettysburg Address or a prophecy like the Reagan address to the Houses of Parliament in 1982. Washington's Farewell Address would prescribe our conduct in foreign policy for a century, as did the Monroe Doctrine in 1823. Sometimes the message is a declaration for war, such as Wilson's speech in 1917, or a war against an economic elite like Jackson's Bank veto in 1832 or Cleveland's Tariff message in 1887. This book is of great interest not only to historians and political scientists but also to students of the presidency and government.

In Toxic Talk, Bill Press exposed the ways in which the extreme right-wing media has done an end run around the American voting populace by exerting a disproportionate control over open political debate. In The Obama Hate Machine, Press returns to show how the Right has taken rhetoric to slanderous new levels in attacking the nation's forty-fourth president.

But presidents have always been attacked like this, right? Wrong. As the author shows, while presidents and presidential candidates routinely have been subject to personal attacks, the outright disdain Obama's extremist opponents have for the facts has inspired an insidious brand of character assassination unique in contemporary politics.

Obama was born in Kenya . . . Obama sympathizes with Muslim terrorists . . . Obama is a communist who wants to institute death panels and touch off class warfare...The extent to which these unfounded assertions have taken hold in the American mindset shows just how ruthless, destructive, and all-powerful the right-wing machine—hijacked by extremists in the media and fueled by corporate coffers—has become. The author reveals how corporate interests such as the infamous Koch Brothers continue to steer political coverage away from fact-based dialogue into the realm of hysteria. Bill Press also observes this phenomenon is not limited to the airwaves and provides an "I Hate Obama Book Club" list, calling out the scores of anti-Obama tomes—and even some from the Left—that have helped drag politics even deeper into the mud.

In his characteristic on-the-mark arguments sure to appeal to anyone on the Left or in the Center, Press shows how the peculiar nature of Obama-hating subverts issue-driven debate and threatens not only the outcome of the 2012 election but the future of the American democratic system.

Everyone has an opinion about whether or not Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. The number of actors involved is staggering, the events are complicated, and it’s hard to know who or what to believe. Spygate bypasses opinion and brings facts together to expose the greatest political scandal in American history.

 

Former Secret Service agent and NYPD police officer Dan Bongino joins forces with journalist D.C. McAllister to clear away fake news and show you how Trump’s political opponents, both foreign and domestic, tried to sabotage his campaign and delegitimize his presidency. By following the names and connections of significant actors, the authors reveal:

 

•      Why the Obama administration sent a spy connected to the Deep State into the Trump campaign 

•      How Russians were connected to the opposition research firm hired by the Clinton campaign to find dirt on Trump

•      How the FBI failed to examine DNC computers after they were hacked, relying instead on the findings of a private company connected to the DNC and the Obama administraton

•      Why British intelligence played a role in building the collusion narrative

•      What role Ukrainians played in legitimizing the perception that Trump was conspiring with the Russians

•      How foreign players in the two events that kickstarted the Trump-Russia collusion investigation were connected to the Clinton Foundation, and 

•      What motivated the major actors who sought to frame the Trump campaign and secure a win for Hillary Clinton

Bill Maher is on the forefront of the new wave of comedians who influence and shape political debate through their comedy. He is best known not just for being funny, but for advocating truth over sensitivity and taking on the political establishment.

Maher first came to national attention as the host of the hit ABC-TV program Politically Incorrect, where he offered a combustible mixture of irreverence and acerbic humor that helped him to garner a loyal following, as well as a reputation for being a controversial bad boy.

Bill Maher's popular new HBO television show, Real Time, has put Maher more front and center than ever before. Particularly one regular segment on the show, entitled "New Rules," has been a hit with his ever-growing legion of fans. It is the part of the show during which Maher takes serious aim, bringing all of his intelligence, incisiveness, wit, and his signature exasperation to bear on topics ranging from cell phones ("I don't need my cell phone to take pictures or access the Internet. I just need it to make a phone call. From everywhere! Not just the places it likes!") to fast food ("No McDonald's in hospitals. I'm not kidding!) to the conservative agenda ("Stop claiming it's an agenda. It's not an agenda. It's a random collection of laws that your corporate donors paid you to pass.").

His bestselling book, New Rules, brings these brilliantly conceived riffs and rants to the written page. This new edition of the book, in paperback for the first time, also features some brand-new material.
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