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The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline…

The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to…

by Frank Rich

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I put off reading this book for a year, for no good reason. Frank Rich has written an excellent account of the use of communications tools--the media and media techniques, basic public relations principles, and so forth--in government. Although focused on the Bush administration, Rich looks at the Clinton Administration, the US news media and news outlets and the broader social context of the first years of the twenty-first century in America. Well-researched, this book offers perceptive analysis in a very readable narrative. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
Ah, truthiness where is thy sting? This examination of politics-as- theater, which reads like a collection of newspaper columns, was great comfort food for liberals in the last years of the Bush Administration. Now, one fears that it may still be pertinent. ( )
  annbury | Jan 24, 2010 |
I found this a useful book - as far as it goes - which is not very far.

Rich gives an interesting blow by blow account of the media sales spin applied to the WMD and Iraq/Al Qaeda lies used by the American government to justify its invasion of Iraq.

What he leaves to a much smaller section in the epilogue is the obvious question, " ... what really did trigger the war in Iraq?"

His answer, is that in 1992, what were to become the neocons "...conceived a controversial manifesto preaching the importance of asserting unilateral American military power after the cold war. Well before the next Bush took office, these and other neocons fated to join his camp had become fixated on Iraq, though for reasons having much to do with their own ideas about exerting American force to jump-start a realignment of the Middle East and little or nothing to do with the stateless terrorism of Al Qaeda or with nation building." and he essentially leaves it at that.

I found a detailed explanation of the missing part of the story in Sniegoski's, "The Transparent Cabal". He shows how hard line Likudnik Jews in the Bush administration and the American Enterprise Institute, JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) and CSP (Centre for Security Policy) successfully hijacked American foreign policy at a critical point in history.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Secretary of State Powell's chief of staff and was well aware of Feith's Israel orientation, stated in regard to him and his neocon associate David Wurmser:
"A lot of these guys, including Wurmser, I looked at as card-carrying members of the Likud party, as I did with Feith. You wouldn't open their wallet and find a card, but often I wondered if their primary allegiance was to their own country or to Israel. That was the thing that troubled me, because there was so much they said and did that looked like it was more reflective of Isreal's interest than our own."

In this unbalanced book, Rich doesn't look at the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan (Israel related) wars but to date (January 2010) they have cost the American taxpayer $ 950.322.000.000 and about 4.500 dead. The Iraqi figure is about 151.000 completely unneccessary fatalities and a wrecked country.

He is only choosing to tell half the story while presenting it as the full story - which is a rather deceptive sales job in itself. If the reader doesn't bother with the epilogue and find a single vague paragraph there, it appears that George Bush invented the Iraq war all by himself. ( )
  Miro | Jan 17, 2010 |
To say that the Grumpy Vegan is a fan of author and New York Times columnist Frank Rich is to understate it. His Sunday column was a must-read -- indeed, the only reason to buy the paper -- until, well, NYT decided to hide it only to paying subscribers in its Times Select boutique. The toes curled, the wry grin smiled and the brain was amused and stimulated by Frank's satirical writing style. That's why all summer I waited patiently for his Greatest Story Ever Sold.

What could be more delicious than an entire book of biting commentary on politics inflamed by a scathing critique of mainstream culture? Greatest Story is a must-read. But it is written in a writing style unlike his columns.

Frank describes how Bush et al took us to war with Iraq. The twist in his narrative is that this is a story of how an administration packaged and marketed the war while it was saying one thing but secretly knew the truth was something else. For example,

"That cynical priority was what had dictated the timing of the rollout of the product in the first place: it wasn't a mushroom cloud that imminent as the White House pressed for a congressional resolution in the fall of 2002, it was the midterms."

And, again,

"Reeling from the criticism, Bush pleaded to ABC's Diane Sawyer that people not "play politics during this period of time." But just months earlier the president had flown from Crawford to Washington overnight to sign a symbolic bill intervening in the case of Terri Schiavo, a brain-dead hospice patient flogged as a right-to-life cause by the Christian right. He was in no position now to lecture anyone about playing politics with tragedy."

To say that I wished I could write like Frank Rich -- specially in the style of his NYT columns -- is to understate it. ( )
  grumpyvegan | Dec 18, 2008 |
some interesting views on the bush administration. Especially the dissection of the media and its reception. Apart from that the other information wasn't that revealing. ( )
  machina82 | Jul 30, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
The most original and thought-provoking insights in “The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina,” Frank Rich’s meticulously researched chronicle of the Bush administration’s exploits, come in his searing analysis of the role that the “new mediathon” has played in the demise of fact-driven public discourse.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159420098X, Hardcover)

When America was attacked on 9/11, its citizens almost unanimously rallied behind its new, untested president as he went to war. What they didn't know at the time was that the Bush administration's highest priority was not to vanquish Al Qaeda but to consolidate its own power at any cost. It was a mission that could be accomplished only by a propaganda presidency in which reality was steadily replaced by a scenario of the White House's own invention—and such was that scenario's devious brilliance that it fashioned a second war against an enemy that did not attack America on 9/11, intimidated the Democrats into incoherence and impotence, and turned a presidential election into an irrelevant referendum on macho imagery and same-sex marriage.

As only he can, acclaimed New York Times columnist Frank Rich delivers a step-by-step chronicle of how skillfully the White House built its house of cards and how the institutions that should have exposed these fictions, the mainstream news media, were too often left powerless by the administration's relentless attack machine, their own post-9/11 timidity, and an unending parade of self-inflicted scandals (typified by those at The New York Times). Demonstrating the candor and conviction that have made him one of our most trusted and incisive public voices, Rich brilliantly and meticulously illuminates the White House's disturbing love affair with "truthiness," and the ways in which a bungled war, a seemingly obscure Washington leak, and a devastating hurricane at long last revealed the man-behind-the-curtain and the story that had so effectively been sold to the nation, as god-given patriotic fact.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:20 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Reveals the spin campaign of the Bush administration that the author contends enabled the support of a war against a non-September 11 enemy, furthered conservative agendas, and consolidated presidential power.

» see all 2 descriptions

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