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Off With Their Heads
Traitors, Crooks, and Obstructionists in American Politics, Media and Business
by Dick Morris
In Off With Their Heads, Morris cites the news media for distorting the news, pushing a blatant liberal agenda. He lacerates Howell Raines' New York Times for its desperate attempts to pump up anti-war sentiment through the buildup to the Iraq War.
Morris also makes the case that the three broadcast networks slanted their news coverage on the war in Iraq by emphasizing casualties and downplaying other significant progress. He refers to Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Maureen Dowd and Peter Arnett as the Sky-Is-Falling Brigade. "The American media establishment has blundered and blundered badly" in what Morris describes as a "credibility gap, but this time it's not official Washington that Americans disbelieve - it's the media itself that we can't trust to tell the truth."
Morris' case against the New York Times is lengthy and well researched.
From that chapter:
The New New York Times: All The News That Fits, They PrintMorris spends great time on explaining the polling methodology used by the Times. He makes the case that the paper spends its own money to fish out positions that are most critical of the Bush Administration. He also goes into an interesting discussion of the use of weights in poll data, which is an industry-wide method to statistically compensate for inaccuracies. Weighting polls is a perfectly legitimate practice, when corrections are needed. For example, often more women than men answer the telephone for pollsters, so they adjust accordingly to improve the poll's accuracy. Morris describes situations where their polls on subjective questions are down-right manipulated:
Acting like the chief campaign strategist for the left, the Times generally conducts six to eight public opinion polls each year. But lately the Times seems to me to be deliberately misinterpreting and weighting its data to suggest that its liberal ideas have a popularity they don't actually enjoy. The polling seems to have one major purpose - to help the Democratic Party set its agenda, encouraging it to embrace the Times's own liberalism on a host of issues. Then, from editorials to op-ed articles and a blizzard of front-page stories, the newspaper relentlessly expounds its views, doing its best to create a national firestorm on the issues it chooses to push.
Morris does not simply discuss the media in Off WIth Their Heads. Drawing on his time in the Clinton White House, Morris reveals how Clinton close to avoid dealing with al Qaeda, Iraq and North Korea. Morris also takes France to task for acting as, one would call an alcoholic's friend, the Enabler. He writes, "(France) helped create the monster Saddam Hussein, leading the fight to allow Saddam to sell as much oil as he liked and do as he pleased with the money."
Morris also covers corporations who manipulatively harm the economy, congressmen who manipulate the redistricting process to ensure easy reelections, and California Governor Gray Davis for using the tobacco-settlement windfall to cover budget gaps.
Morris also has little good to say about cigarette companies, nursing home entrepreneurs and other interesting targets.
The result is an interesting, well-researched book. Critics of American left-sided thinking, as well as the opponents to the Bush Administration will find a wealth of stories, debate points and anecdotes.