Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote by Sharyl Attkisson Release Date: May 2, 2017 Publisher: Harper Collins Number of Pages: 294 Hardcover Source: Warren Library Non-Fiction/Politics Rating: PG-13 Read 2/18/18 to DNF decision 3/10/18
Hey all you book clubbers! I need an honest answer…did any of you actually finish this book? Please let me know if you did. As usual, I’ll give you my review first, then give you some info from the book club gathering after that.
If you follow my reviews at all, you know I’m not a big fan of not finishing books. I always want to give authors a fair shot, even when it’s not my thing. I have also made it no secret that it annoys me to no end when someone gives a book a bad star rating because “it’s not my thing” when they know going in the genre of book they are reading. So it may seem odd that I’m not only not going to finish this book, but I’m also going to give it a bad star rating…but I’ll explain my reasons.
This book is marketed as an inside look into ALL smear tactics and campaigns. Silly me, I thought I’d get a non-partisan, objective, fair story. Instead I got story after story after story about how the Clinton’s are terrible. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the Clinton’s have done terrible things over the last 30-40 years. But this book is so one-sided and it was quickly obvious that the author has a grudge. She may have reason, and that’s okay. But then you have to market the book as a tell-all into the Clinton’s and their shady dealings, not market as a look into EVERYONE’S shady dealings. After the first few chapters I tried skimming and even jumping ahead, thinking she’d tell us bad things about the Clinton’s and other liberal-minded politicians and then give the other side of the story with the shadiness of some of those on the conservative side. Nope. Basically, everything wrong with politics is because of Hilary Clinton with help from her husband Bill and a sprinkling of Obama. If that’s what I want to learn about I’ll watch Fox News. So no, I don’t feel bad giving this a bad rating because the book is not what it presents itself as in its description.
The funny thing is, my brother was over one day and saw the book (before I started reading) and said, “Is this a pro-Trump book?” I told him no, why would he think that? He said because it has the words ‘fake news’ in the title. I said I thought that was just in jest, kind of using the president’s words to catch the eye. Boy oh boy, I should have listened to my little brother!
1 star – DNF
As for the rest of my book club, we had another small group. Just my mom, my Aunt Lynne, and Tina. I believe Lynne finished it, Tina hadn’t even picked it up (she’s a super busy student/teacher/professor/administrator so it’s understandable), and my mom didn’t finish it yet but had gotten further than me.
They agreed that the author’s writing was slanted against liberals so we had to take all that she wrote about with a grain of salt. Lynne was glad she did learn some new things and felt it was even good to have a reminder of the Clinton’s of the late 90s and some of their evil deeds. Sometimes we tend to forget how bad a person is when we’re presented with someone even worse. But we all agreed the writing is quite dry and detail heavy. And it was also agreed the book should be marketed a different way because it doesn’t accomplish what it claims the author is setting out to do. “Attkisson exposes the diabolical tactics of Smear artists, and their outrageous access to the biggest names in political media—operatives who are corrupting the political process, and discouraging widespread citizen involvement in our democracy.” The only smear artists this book seems to uncover are the Clintons, and most of us already know that story even if it’s been a while since it’s been told.
Lynne is the next hostess and decided to take us in a totally different direction. We’ll be reading The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the first of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot stories. I’ve never read that one so I think it’ll be fun to dive into. We’ll be meeting on Saturday, April 21 so if you have any questions for my book club or comments you want me to bring up during our meeting be sure to send me a message. Otherwise, I’ll be back with a recap of book club sometime in the week following our discussion.