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Publisher's Summary

Ever wonder how politics turned into a take-no-prisoners blood sport? The New York Times best-selling author of Stonewalled pulls back the curtain on the shady world of opposition research and reveals the dirty tricks those in power use to influence your opinions.
Behind most major political stories in the modern era, there is an agenda - an effort by opposition researchers, spin doctors, and outside interests to destroy an idea or a person. The tactic they use is the Smear. Every day, Americans are influenced by the Smear without knowing it. Paid forces cleverly shape virtually every image you cross. Maybe you read that Donald Trump is a racist misogynist or saw someone on the news mocking the Bernie Sanders campaign. The trick of the Smear is that it is often based on some shred of truth, but these media-driven "hit pieces" are designed to obscure the truth. Success hinges on the Smear artist's ability to remain invisible, to make it seem as if their work is neither calculated nor scripted. It must appear to be precisely what it is not.
Veteran journalist Sharyl Attkisson has witnessed this practice firsthand. After years of being pitched hit jobs and puff pieces, she's an expert at detecting Smear campaigns. Now, the hard-hitting investigative reporter shares her inside knowledge, revealing how the Smear takes shape and who its perpetrators are - including Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal and, most influential of all, "right-wing assassin turned left-wing assassin" (National Review) political operative David Brock and his Media Matters for America empire.
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.
©2017 Sharyl Attkisson (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Charles Atkinson on 06-29-17

Devestating Reporting on...Reporters and The Smear

Some of the dubious smears Ms Akkisson writes about actually deeply influenced my vote. You have no idea how hard it is for me to admit that. Its true for me and I know its true of some of my smartest friends.

Like a surgeon, Ms Akkisson sites facts peeling away the many layers of deceit and blatant disregard for ethics and standards in her industry. She systematicly exposes bias and collusion In the media with professional smear artists.

It is as gripping a read as it is a devestating expose' on the media. I loved every second of the book. Before you repeat any opinion you have on politics, listen to this book! I have no doubt The Smear will have a huge impact on the future of the media.

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34 of 35 people found this review helpful


By MJ on 08-05-17

A cancer metastasizing...

...before our very eyes. All who value this republic must read, follow, discern news with great skepticism and variety.

Sharyl is a modern Paul Revere, warning citizens of a very real and present danger.

"A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.” Dr. McHenry in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, ed. Max Farrand, vol. 3, appendix A, p. 85 (1911, reprinted 1934)

Interestingly, Mike Wallace on CBS' 60 Minutes misquoted (now I wonder intentionally?) taking out the word "republic " and inserting "democracy."
[Dec 20, 1998]

God bless and protect you, Ms. Attkisson, you most certainly took great risks. You are admired and appreciated by this fan.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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By Mr. Steve Hill on 11-29-17

Insightful, but partisan guide to smear tactics

An insightful guide to some of the underhand tactics used by political lobby groups. But . Attkisson appears to live in a parallel universe where Fox News upholds the traditions of ‘fair and balanced’ journalism.

Incredibly, Fox and its commentators such as Hannity and Beck are painted not as aggressors, but as helpless victims of organised smears from a range of what she considers to be ‘left wing’ groups.

I’m not sure what the author has been smoking, but the likes of Media Matters (a moderate non-profit research group) and the New York Times are only calling out what are blatant lies and racism in the right wing US media. Their tactics actually are pretty mild, yet Attkison appears to believe these so-called ‘left wings’ groups are a real threat to democracy and are on a mission to destroy freedom of speech.

She appears to genuinely believe that 99% of US media is left wing, and its pretty much just Fox News alone who provide reliable news. Comically, the only time Fox gets any flack is because they invited Media Matters to appear on the network.

Oh yes, she also doesn’t like it when Fox don’t have not enough Trump supporting cheerleaders on!

You couldn’t make it up! At times you will wonder whether the author, who reads her own work on this audio book, is actually being serious. Is it some sort of joke?

The odd thing is the book isn’t without merit. It is well researched in places and presents an interesting look at smear tactics - but it is written through a highly partisan prism which undermines much of its credibility.

Make if it what you will, but this is not a serious academic study.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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