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Monday, November 12, 2007
Bozell's Hillary Blackwash
Topic: Media Research Center

How credible can a book be when it can't even agree on its title?

That's the dilemma we face with the new Hillary Clinton-bashing book by Brent Bozell and Tim Graham. The MRC web page promoting the book proclaims it to be "Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell You About Hillary Clinton, but Conservatives Will," but the book jacket illustrating the page (reproduced at left) reads, "Whitewash: How the Mainstream Media are Paving Hillary Clinton's Path to the Presidency."

The former title, if not official, seems to be the more accurate one according to the promo copy: "To expose the truth about Hillary that the supposedly objective media have buried, Bozell and Graham have interviewed dozens of leading conservatives who are fighting to let Americans hear the whole story: Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Mark Levin, Mary Matalin, Laura Ingraham, Cal Thomas, and many others."

The problem with such an approach is that very few of these people -- Bozell and Graham included -- are interested in "the truth" about the Clintons; they only want to attack and will forward any claim, regardless of its accuracy, to achieve that goal. Indeed, LimbaughHannity, Coulter, Levin, Ingraham and Thomas are all on record making false or misleading claims (or just venomous smears) about the Clintons, which doesn't bode well for the veracity of the book. The promo page offers no evidence why, given such unmistakable animus toward the Clintons, the word of these conservatives (the authors included) should be trusted as unassailable fact.

We suspect that one thing incorporated into the book will be a 2006 MRC study by TimesWatch's Clay Waters purporting to claim that the New York Times "has used its seat more as a cheering section for Clinton than as a dispassionate perch for objective observation." But as we documented, the study is full of unsupported claims, opinions stated as facts and examples that provide dubious support at best to his central claim.

In fact, we may be so bold as to say that "opinions stated as facts" will be the defining element of Bozell and Graham's book.

Further, it's also not a good sign when your book's lead piece of evidence is easily debunked. From the promo copy:

In Whitewash, L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham of the Media Research Center, America’s largest and most respected media watchdog organization, expose the unprecedented media favoritism that is the real key to Hillary’s political career. Marshalling stunning evidence compiled exclusively by the Media Research Center, the authors show how the media have relentlessly promoted Hillary from the moment in 1992 when Time magazine introduced her to the country as an "amalgam of Betty Crocker, Mother Teresa, and Oliver Wendell Holmes."

Here's what actually appeared in the Jan. 27, 1992, article to which Bozell and Graham are referring:

Friends of Hillary Clinton would have you believe she is an amalgam of Betty Crocker, Mother Teresa and Oliver Wendell Holmes. She gets up before dawn, even on weekends, and before her first cup of coffee discusses educational reform. She then hops into her fuel-efficient car with her perfectly behaved daughter for a day of good works.

Fortunately, Hillary Clinton, the latest wife to be challenged to fit perfectly into the ill-defined role of political spouse, is more interesting than that.

Time never called her an "amalgam of Betty Crocker, Mother Teresa, and Oliver Wendell Holmes," as Bozell and Graham claim; it portrayed Hillary's supporters as making that claim -- and called it overblown. As far as Bozell and Graham are concerned, apparently, it's forbidden for anyone in the media to say anything nice about Hillary. There certainly won't be anything nice about her in their book, given the signs that it's little more than yet another conservative hit job.

UPDATE: The MRC has since swapped out the book cover image for one that has the current subtitle. 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2007 10:26 AM EST

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