The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals

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The Dark Side is a dramatic, riveting, and definitive narrative account of how the United States made self-destructive decisions in the pursuit of terrorists around the world—decisions that not only violated the Constitution, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda. In spellbinding detail, Jane Mayer relates the impact of these decisions by which key players, namely Vice President Dick Cheney and his powerful, secretive adviser David Addington, exploited September 11 to further a long held agenda to enhance presidential powers to a degree never known in U.S. history, and obliterate Constitutional protections that define the very essence of the American experiment. With a new afterward. 


One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year

National Bestseller

National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist 

A Best Book of the Year: SalonSlateThe EconomistThe Washington PostCleveland Plain-Dealer

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About the author

Jane Mayer is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of three bestselling and critically acclaimed narrative nonfiction books. She co-authored Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984–1988, with Doyle McManus, and Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, with Jill Abramson, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her book The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, for which she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, was named one of The New York Times’s Top 10 Books of the Year and won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Goldsmith Book Prize, the Edward Weintal Prize, the Ridenhour Prize, the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. It was also a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. For her reporting at The New Yorker,Mayer has been awarded the John Chancellor Award, the George Polk Award, the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting, and the I. F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence presented by the Nieman Foundation at Harvard. Mayer lives in Washington, D.C.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Anchor
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Published on
May 8, 2009
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Pages
432
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ISBN
9780307456502
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 21st Century
Political Science / Intelligence & Espionage
Political Science / Terrorism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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 Details how presidents utilize mass media to justify foreign policy objectives in the aftermath of 9/11.
Modern presidents have considerable power in selling U.S. foreign policy objectives to the public. In Selling War, Selling Hope, Anthony R. DiMaggio documents how presidents often make use of the media to create a positive informational environment that, at least in the short term, successfully builds public support for policy proposals. Using timely case studies with a focus on the Arab Spring and the U.S. “War on Terror” in the Middle East and surrounding regions, DiMaggio explains how official spin is employed to construct narratives that are sympathetic to U.S. officialdom. The mass media, rather than exhibiting independence when it comes to reporting foreign policy issues, is regularly utilized as a political tool for selling official proposals. The marginalization of alternative, critical viewpoints poses a significant obstacle to informed public deliberations on foreign policy issues. In the long run, however, the packaging of official narrative and its delivery by the media begins to unravel as citizens are able to make use of alternative sources of information and assert their independence from official viewpoints.

“Selling War, Selling Hope is an innovative project that pushes the fields of political science, political communication, public opinion, and presidential rhetoric into new and exciting directions. This book is essential reading.” — Mark Major, author of The Unilateral Presidency and the News Media: The Politics of Framing Executive Power

“This eye-opening exposition offers a radical new conclusion to the debate over why Americans oppose wars: Americans oppose particular wars for moral reasons. By capturing the wide range of presidential rhetoric from fear to hope, DiMaggio documents the depths plumbed by political and other elites to manipulate the American public to support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In order to counteract American citizens’ moral opposition to war, political elites manipulate citizens’ fears into support for war by giving them hope, but the policies they choose, more often than not, lead to more war and reason for fear which creates a vicious cycle: fear—hope—war. The challenge we face is to break through the noise and the manipulation of political, economic, and military elites. DiMaggio offers us a way to see clearly.” — Amentahru Wahlrab, University of Texas at Tyler
Throughout history and especially during contemporary times, presidential rhetoric sets the foreign policy tone not only for Congress but mainly for the American public. Consequently, US foreign policy is actively marketed and spun to the American public. This book describes the marketing strategy of the War on Terror and how that strategy compelled public opinion towards supporting the spread of the War on Terror from Afghanistan to Iraq. The author investigates how President George W. Bush's initial framing of the September 11th attacks provided the platform for the creation of long term public support for the War on Terror and established early public support for U.S. action in Iraq.

Mining public opinion data and nearly 1500 presidential speeches over a four year period, the book argues that presidential framing of threats and losses, not gains, contributed to public support for war in Afghanistan, war in Iraq, and President Bush's successful reelection campaign. President Bush's initial framing of the terrorist threat was introduced immediately after the September 11th attacks and reinforced throughout the Afghanistan invasion. During this time period, presidential threat framing established the broad parameters for the War on Terror and enabled the president to successfully market a punitive war in Afghanistan. Second, the president marketed the strategy of preemptive war and led the country into the more costly war in Iraq by focusing on the potentially global threat of terrorism and the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. President Bush's previous war rhetoric was repackaged into a leaner, more focused format in which the Iraq war became part of the War on Terror, resulting in increased support for the president and a successful reelection campaign. Finally, the author examines the withdraw vs. surge in Iraq debate bringing the book up to date. The book shows the influencing potential of presidential spin and of risky foreign policy in the Middle East, and presents a systematic analysis of how a president effectively pursued a marketing strategy that continues to show an enduring ability to influence public support. Even two years after the Iraq invasion, 52% of Americans believed that the U.S. should stay in Iraq until it is stabilized. This finding bypasses agenda setting explanations, which prescribes issue salience amongst the public for only one year. The large speech database available with the study will also be an added benefit to scholars seeking to teach undergraduate and graduate level qualitative research methods.

Have the American people grown more politically sophisticated in the past three decades, or do they remain relatively ignorant of the political world? Did a "great leap forward" take place during the 1960s in which our citizenry became involved and adept voters? In this important book, Eric Smith addresses these and other provocative questions that have long befuddled political scientists and policymakers.

Much of the current wisdom about American voters derives from an argument advanced in a volume entitled The Changing American Voter, written by Nie, Verba, and Petrocik. In this work, the authors contend that the electorate made a "great leap forward" in political sophistication and ideological thinking between the 1960 and 1964 elections. They argue that people changed in response to a shifting environment, and that, in particular, the surge of protest and ideological rhetoric between 1960 and 1964 engendered a new political savvy and sophistication. In their view, people learned to understand politics better, to relate the issues to the candidates more accurately, and to cast more informed, intelligent votes.

In The Unchanging American Voter, Smith takes issue with this portrait of an engaged American citizenry and replaces it with a quite different picture of the voters of this nation. He posits a more bleak political landscape in which the typical voter knows little about politics, is not interested in the political arena and consequently does not participate in it, and is even unable to organize his or her attitudes in a coherent manner. To support this view, Smith demonstrates how the indices by which Nie, Verba, and Petrocik measured levels of sophistication during the 1960s were methodologically flawed and how a closer examination of supposed changes reveals only superficial and unimportant shifts in the ways voters have approached the ballot box since the 1950s.

The Unchanging American Voter is an intelligent and original work that provides a new perspective of the American citizenry. It is sure to engender discussion and debate about the dynamics of voting in postwar America.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

Who are the immensely wealthy right-wing ideologues shaping the fate of America today? From the bestselling author of The Dark Side, an electrifying work of investigative journalism that uncovers the agenda of this powerful group.

In her new preface, Jane Mayer discusses the results of the most recent election and Donald Trump's victory, and how, despite much discussion to the contrary, this was a huge victory for the billionaires who have been pouring money in the American political system.

Why is America living in an age of profound and widening economic inequality? Why have even modest attempts to address climate change been defeated again and again? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers? In a riveting and indelible feat of reporting, Jane Mayer illuminates the history of an elite cadre of plutocrats—headed by the Kochs, the Scaifes, the Olins, and the Bradleys—who have bankrolled a systematic plan to fundamentally alter the American political system. Mayer traces a byzantine trail of billions of dollars spent by the network, revealing a staggering conglomeration of think tanks, academic institutions, media groups, courthouses, and government allies that have fallen under their sphere of influence. Drawing from hundreds of exclusive interviews, as well as extensive scrutiny of public records, private papers, and court proceedings, Mayer provides vivid portraits of the secretive figures behind the new American oligarchy and a searing look at the carefully concealed agendas steering the nation. Dark Money is an essential book for anyone who cares about the future of American democracy.

National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
LA Times Book Prize Finalist
PEN/Jean Stein Book Award Finalist
Shortlisted for the Lukas Prize
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