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Summary

Ever wonder how politics turned into a take-no-prisoners blood sport? The New York Times best-selling author of Stonewalled pulls back the curtain on the shady world of opposition research and reveals the dirty tricks those in power use to influence your opinions.

Behind most major political stories in the modern era, there is an agenda - an effort by opposition researchers, spin doctors, and outside interests to destroy an idea or a person. The tactic they use is the Smear. Every day, Americans are influenced by the Smear without knowing it. Paid forces cleverly shape virtually every image you cross. Maybe you read that Donald Trump is a racist misogynist or saw someone on the news mocking the Bernie Sanders campaign. The trick of the Smear is that it is often based on some shred of truth, but these media-driven "hit pieces" are designed to obscure the truth. Success hinges on the Smear artist's ability to remain invisible, to make it seem as if their work is neither calculated nor scripted. It must appear to be precisely what it is not.

Veteran journalist Sharyl Attkisson has witnessed this practice firsthand. After years of being pitched hit jobs and puff pieces, she's an expert at detecting Smear campaigns. Now, the hard-hitting investigative reporter shares her inside knowledge, revealing how the Smear takes shape and who its perpetrators are - including Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal and, most influential of all, "right-wing assassin turned left-wing assassin" (National Review) political operative David Brock and his Media Matters for America empire.

Attkisson exposes the diabolical tactics of Smear artists and their outrageous access to the biggest names in political media - operatives who are corrupting the political process and discouraging widespread citizen involvement in our democracy.

©2017 Sharyl Attkisson (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

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Insightful, but partisan guide to smear tactics

An insightful guide to some of the underhand tactics used by political lobby groups. But . Attkisson appears to live in a parallel universe where Fox News upholds the traditions of ‘fair and balanced’ journalism.

Incredibly, Fox and its commentators such as Hannity and Beck are painted not as aggressors, but as helpless victims of organised smears from a range of what she considers to be ‘left wing’ groups.

I’m not sure what the author has been smoking, but the likes of Media Matters (a moderate non-profit research group) and the New York Times are only calling out what are blatant lies and racism in the right wing US media. Their tactics actually are pretty mild, yet Attkison appears to believe these so-called ‘left wings’ groups are a real threat to democracy and are on a mission to destroy freedom of speech.

She appears to genuinely believe that 99% of US media is left wing, and its pretty much just Fox News alone who provide reliable news. Comically, the only time Fox gets any flack is because they invited Media Matters to appear on the network.

Oh yes, she also doesn’t like it when Fox don’t have not enough Trump supporting cheerleaders on!

You couldn’t make it up! At times you will wonder whether the author, who reads her own work on this audio book, is actually being serious. Is it some sort of joke?

The odd thing is the book isn’t without merit. It is well researched in places and presents an interesting look at smear tactics - but it is written through a highly partisan prism which undermines much of its credibility.

Make if it what you will, but this is not a serious academic study.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • MJ
  • 05-08-17

A cancer metastasizing...

...before our very eyes. All who value this republic must read, follow, discern news with great skepticism and variety.

Sharyl is a modern Paul Revere, warning citizens of a very real and present danger.

"A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.” Dr. McHenry in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, ed. Max Farrand, vol. 3, appendix A, p. 85 (1911, reprinted 1934)

Interestingly, Mike Wallace on CBS' 60 Minutes misquoted (now I wonder intentionally?) taking out the word "republic " and inserting "democracy."
[Dec 20, 1998]

God bless and protect you, Ms. Attkisson, you most certainly took great risks. You are admired and appreciated by this fan.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Charles Atkinson
  • 29-06-17

Devestating Reporting on...Reporters and The Smear

Some of the dubious smears Ms Akkisson writes about actually deeply influenced my vote. You have no idea how hard it is for me to admit that. Its true for me and I know its true of some of my smartest friends.

Like a surgeon, Ms Akkisson sites facts peeling away the many layers of deceit and blatant disregard for ethics and standards in her industry. She systematicly exposes bias and collusion In the media with professional smear artists.

It is as gripping a read as it is a devestating expose' on the media. I loved every second of the book. Before you repeat any opinion you have on politics, listen to this book! I have no doubt The Smear will have a huge impact on the future of the media.

43 of 45 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-08-17

fantastic

very well written and very well-read interesting story about the truth of what goes on in this country excellent

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Jimmy Dean
  • 28-07-17

OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!

Any additional comments?

This book makes me so happy! I thought I was going crazy before I read it. Then I started believing the smear merchants on the "other side" of the aisle. The Smear, by Sharyl Attkisson, puts my heart at ease. It has opened my heart by opening my eyes to the brainwashing that goes on for all of us, whether we consider ourselves to be on the right or the left and is THE obstacle to a free society, social harmony and mutual understanding.

In the audio book version, Sharyl does a great job reading. You can feel her integrity and concern for all involved parties in the way she reads. This truly is a rarefied work on the level of excellence that does not seem to seek condemnation but rather understanding.

A wise man once said that falsehood needs not be opposed, only exposed. The truth has a way of dissolving fallacy by its' own merit and power. It is my hope that this book launches a new era of civility in which the destructive effects of now obvious media smear campaigns are mitigated by enhanced sophistication, discernment, understanding and compassion. In order to choose the good we must first unmask and identify the not-so-good. This book does an excellent job of doing that.

Shame is cruel and abusive. Smearing is a form of oppression. By the very nature of a smear, the victim instantly becomes a minority in the smallest and most oppressed group in America - the victims of public shaming. The ends do not justify the means, because we live in a world of means.

My compassion and prayers go out to all those who have been smeared as well as the ones doing the smearing. I would NEVER want the karma of what they are doing.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Ron Joly
  • 25-07-17

Just as I suspected

If you could sum up The Smear in three words, what would they be?

Confirmed my Suspicions

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Smear?

David Brocks dominance and collusion of and with the fake news sites like CNN

What does Sharyl Attkisson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I trusted her words

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Money can buy reporters, editors and anchors to perpetuate whatever liberal narrative and smear you want to put forward,

Any additional comments?

I saw the Hillary campaign and friends try to make me doubt what I saw and heard during the campaign. Their antics and bubble blindness steered me to Trump and away from Hillary,
Excellent Book and hopefully We get a Part 2 Update highlighting CNN's and the rest of the Liberal Media fall from grace.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Bob
  • 13-08-17

This is a must listen to.

She clearly points out how the news is no longer a source of unbiased reporting. After you listen you understand mucj the media was in the tank for Clinton. You will get a better understanding of fake news..

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Deborah Perkins
  • 07-08-17

Fascinating and scary!

Anyone interested in politics needs to listen to this book. No matter your political persuasion, this author tells it like it is. I will forever filter what I hear on the news with what I learned from this book.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Breemee
  • 24-07-17

Gives you Something to Think About

What about Sharyl Attkisson’s performance did you like?

Sharyl was easy to listen to

Any additional comments?

There's a lot of information in this book. Sometimes there were too many technical details, but it was a great book that gives perspective on the craziness going on in our political system today. It's gone sideways since the 90s and this book puts it into perspective.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Denise A
  • 29-06-17

I trust this author!

I bought this book the first day it was available because I trust the author. I was not disappointed. It was so well done that at the end I found myself wanting to hear more of what she has to say. It is obvious how hard she works to get the complete facts and I treasure her objectivity. I look forward to more if her work.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Teri
  • 07-08-17

Things are not as they appear to be!

In the jungle of lairs, Sheryl Atkinson is becoming one of my go-to truth-tellers! This book opened my eyes to the lying liars in media. I always knew they were there, but was sickened at the degree in which they're there. Birds of lying feathers definitely stick together!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful