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Books Review: The Greatest Story Ever Sold

The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina
[BARGAIN PRICE] (Hardcover)

The Greatest Story Ever Sold

Mr. Rich's approach in THE GREATEST STORY EVER SOLD is disarmingly simple - retell the chronological story of the Bush II Presidency, focusing on the manner in which the Administration presented and sold its case to the American public. What emerges, of course, is a pattern of deceptions and staged events that have resulted in a failed Presidency (with approval ratings rivaling those of Nixon after Watergate), a country more polarized than ever, and a lower American standing in the world than at any time in our history. What also emerges, however, is a portrait of the mainstream media that for far too long acted as the President's lapdog, cowed by the aftershocks of 9/11 ("watch what you say!"), panic-stricken over the notion of seeming traitorous simply by asking a question, and fawning obsequiously over the Bush Administration out of fear of losing their vaunted access (failing to recognize the irony of their being used as tools of the Administration's propaganda program).

Mr. Rich chronicles the Bush Administration's story from 9/11 to Katrina in great detail, hitting all the well-known low spots (aluminum tubes, uranium from Niger, Valerie Plame, WMD's, shock and awe, embedded reporters, Jessica Lynch, Mission Accomplished, "Kenny Boy" Lay, Jeff (hotmilitarystud.com) Gannon, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Abu Ghraib, Pat Tillman, Cindy Sheehan, Michael (heckuva job) Brown, etc.) and a few less publicized ones. The entire recap plays like the political equivalent of a year-ending "Top 100 Musical Hits" show, bringing back lots of (mostly bad) memories and connecting the dots across the first five or six years of George Bush's Presidency.

At its heart, Rich blames the media's desire for access, its disinterest in analysis, and its fear of being painted as not patriotic. Since 9/11 the White House has succeeded in silencing those who offer any competing narrative to its own (remember Bill Maher's suggestion that we're deluding ourselves if we think cowards fly airplanes into buildings?) more interested in controlling the story than winning the war. As with the excellent history of Iraq "Fiasco" Bush partisans will not give this work a read, nor even consider the possibility of fault, let alone bad intentions. Even honorable men who shed blood in war for the country such as Senator's McCain, Graham, and Warner, find themselves under attack because disagreement for many of my fellow Americans now seems synonymous with betrayal. Those who reflexively revile works such as this one should take a deep breath and hear out his argument. A dose of his rational outrage would be a tonic for us all.

The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End (Paperback)
Alwaleed: Businessman, Billionaire, Prince (Hardcover) by Riz Khan
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Hardcover) by Lawrence Wright
Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (Hardcover) by Thomas E. Ricks
State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration (Paperback)
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