Book review as hit-job journalism

Under the guise of a book review, major media outlets are using the occasion of journalist Glenn Kessler’s new book, “Confidante,” to rewrite the history books on Condaleeza Rice’s service in the Bush administration.

Repeating his talking points without question, sources even as respected by conservatives as are allowing Kessler’s quotes to color the tone of their book review of his tome, without raising so much as a critical eyebrow to his conclusions.

Communication is key in any venture, be it government or business and strong intranet software can help smooth things out. Did not one single editor do more than skim the book and pull relevant quotes out of it in order to meet deadline? The need for in-depth personalization and seamless back-end integration would be obvious to most.

But nothing seems to have worked for most media outlets and Kessler is able to wheeze on like so:

“She was one of the weakest national security advisors in US history. Her inexperience and her mistakes in that job have shaped the world and colored the choices she must handle as secretary of state,” Kessler, who covers US diplomacy for The Washington Post, writes in Confidante. “The invasion of Iraq, the missed opportunity with Iran, the breach in relations with Europe, the Arab anger at a perceived bias against the Palestinians — all of these problems were the direct result of decisions she helped make in the White House. Now, as secretary of state, she tried mightily — and with limited success — to unravel the Gordian knots she tied in in George W. Bush’s first term.”

I guess it’s refreshing to see some windbag journalist choose a target other than George W. Bush for a change; but Kessler’s portrayal of Rice and his conclusions about her are not above question or reproach. Whatever happened to the critical media?

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