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All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid
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All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  924 ratings  ·  148 reviews
Yahoo!'s national political columnist and the former chief political correspondent for The New York Times Magazine brilliantly revisits the Gary Hart affair and looks at how it changed forever the intersection of American media and politics.

In 1987, Gary Hart-articulate, dashing, refreshingly progressive-seemed a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination for president and led
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2014)
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Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I phenomenal book partly about the Gary Hart scandal but more importantly about how it changed US politics forever. Bai has done amazing research and recounts what happened, not the media story looking back at what happened (Hart never dared the media to follow him). All political junkies should read this.
Patrick Damp
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this one from front to back. As someone born in 1990, it is easy to take for granted the “horse race” and “tabloid” style journalism that surrounds politics. However, “All The Truth is Out” gives us a look at the campaign, forces and decisions that led to our modern-day political journalism.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is such a good look at the collision of culture, journalism, politics and technology in the 1988 USA presidential campaign and how it still affects us now. It’s well-written and thoughtful and explains a lot about the current state of political discourse.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
An engaging read especially for non-fiction, which I sometimes struggle with. Really interesting to think/contemplate Bai’s argument about why Gary Hart’s career ended while others, guilty or accused of much worse, survived/thrived.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wanted more analysis and less retelling and a broader scope. However this topic is incredibly relevant today and if you are interested in Gary Hart it's a good read.
Nick Dye
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Brilliant recount and analysis of the Gary Hart scandal that makes you think about the relationships between the press and politicians. The author can be a bit cynical at times
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
The tone of this book is thoughtful and reflective. It was refreshing to read someone unpack a thesis on the media and modern politics with poise rather than hyperbole.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Even though I didn't give it 5 stars, I highly recommend this one.
Richard Moss
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
The demise of Democratic Presidential front-runner Gary Hart in a sex scandal might seem a little quaint after last year's election.

But in All The Truth is Out author Matt Bai argues the media's role in the 1987 scandal set a dangerous precedent that has damaged US politics.

Bai contends that before Hart, journalists and candidates had a constructive relationship. Coverage would focus on policy rather than personality.

Afterwards, the trust was gone. The media began to focus more on "character" th
Reading this book reminded me of what Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell used to say about voters: "If they had a choice between Jesus, Moses, and Muhammad, fifty percent would say, 'Can't we get somebody else?' "

I found the first part tedious -- there's a lot of What Does It All Mean about American politics and the American psyche. Journalists often call this style of writing a thumbsucker or a goat-choker (see ).

And the final part is also not terribly enl
LAPL Reads
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Colorado Senator Gary Hart was considered to be the front-runner for the 1988 Democratic Presidential nomination in 1987. Bai, the national political columnist for Yahoo News, recounts how an alleged adulterous affair forced the potential Democratic nominee to drop out of the race. Hart, reeling from the intense media circus he and his family were subjected to, withdrew into seclusion. He reemerged in November to run a quixotic, scaled down campaign which failed to generate many votes.

Bai place
Jeff Francis
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it

Five years ago my wife and I lived in a mountain town of fewer than a thousand residents. Our area was cramped, uncomfortable, fairly trashy, just the type of place that can be a trigger for depression. The mountain on which we alighted, for instance, had no code enforcement or animal control, and a check of the online registry revealed a couple sex offenders living nearby… However, despite all these minuses, the town had a curious claim to fame: Gary Hart lived there.

Most of us never saw him.
Oct 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Matt Bai’s All The Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid re-examines the scandal that marked the downfall of Gary Hart’s presidential ambitions. Contrary to popular perception, Bai argues, the scandal was not solely the result of a miscalculation on the part of Hart. Rather, it was the result of both Hart’s miscalculations and a paradigm shift in media coverage—had Hart not been exposed, another public figure would have will comparable consequences.

Bai attributes this sea change in media
Jess George
Feb 16, 2016 rated it liked it
This was an interesting, thought-provoking, and relatively short read. I enjoyed the middle chapters that retold the unfolding of the Gary Hart / Donna Rice affair quite a bit. The campaign and the world of journalism at the time were very well-described and the events are very compelling. However, in the surrounding chapters, Bai makes a lot of broad generalizations, and in failing to prove some of his larger claims about the importance of Hart and the Hart story, I think he damages the book's ...more
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Most people hate the current political culture of lies, vapid empty suits, and the demonizing of those on any side of a political argument by those on some other side. We dislike what has become of our press, both national and local. We distrust our political leaders more than we ever have before.

We have to ask ourselves - do we have the government, the leadership, that we deserve?

Does character count?

Matt Bai's book did something that's more rare than it should be - it caused me to rethink what
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was a senior in high school about to graduate when the Gary Hart campaign for President imploded, so I probably wasn't paying close attention. Turns out most of what I remember about it is the mythology that formed around the story afterward.

However, what indisputably did happen is that the American media crossed a line it has never managed to get back behind -- no matter how much damage their new way of working causes the country. Candidates for public office are now presumed to be people wh
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
In 1987, former senator Gary Hart was looking to be the next president, and rightfully so. He was highly intelligent, thoughtful, even visionary, with many, very well-thought out ideas of America's structural problems and challenges, and how to fix them. He was the sort of person the Founders envisioned leading the nation. Then a came tip to the Miami Herald that he was having an affair with a young woman who was not his wife. Reporters staked out his house, caught evidence of the affair, and ra ...more
Nov 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Bored The rise and fall of Gary Hart in his Presidential election run is part of US political lore. Matt Bai decided to take a closer look at the circumstances and events surrounding this particular event, to show that this was what opened the gates to the gossipy, crazy political reporting world we live in.
Bai looks at Cramer's What It Takes, which follows the 1988 Presidential election. Bai zeroes in on Hart's supposed extramarital affair with Donna Rice and the fallout. Bai interviews Hart h
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a great read. If you get fully immersed in national presidential politics every 4 years and you enjoy reading about political journalists (maybe I should call them entertainers, not journalists) you'll like this book. It really should have a subtitle that better reflects the subject matter, which is basically Gary Hart's brief run in 1987 for the Democratic nomination for president. With that event at the center, Matt Bai tells how political news coverage changed dramatically and thoroughly ...more
Jennifer Collins
Sometimes gut-wrenching, this is a fascinating exploration of why, how, and when politics and the coverage of politics changed, drastically and irreversibly. Chalked up to whim or coincidence, or to a force that was building, the fact is that the relationship between presidential hopefuls (and politicians in general, perhaps) and journalists was forever changed in the 1980s, and arguably, in 1987 to be exact. As the popularization of television changed the way that politics and politicians Could ...more
Jason Smith
Feb 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read an article lamenting that this book had languishing sales and decided to grab a copy. This was after I read and enjoyed the shortened version Bai had published in the Times Magazine. That’s all you need to read.

The book is a let down after having read the article and it’s unfortunate when a work is so clearly superior as a summary. Bai has an interesting story to tell in Hart’s downfall, but is too enamored with his subject to recognize that he did in fact have weaknesses as a candidate o
Matt Bennett
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Matt Bai is one of the most incisive, funny, and fluid writers in political journalism. His column on Yahoo offers far more than the average insights per capita, and it's always fun to read. So it's not surprising that Bai has written a terrific book about politics and journalism. What is surprising is how much new information his book provides, including his extraordinary new examination of the life, career, and character of Gary Hart.

Bai argues persuasively that political journalism was foreve
Sally Monaghan
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and very well written. Be prepared, though, rather than being about the press, it's almost entirely about Gary Hart. The author's premise is that the press's contribution to Hart's downfall was the beginning of the end for political journalism. But, it's really about Hart, himself.

I completely agree with the author's theory that current political press is only concerned with "gotcha" journalism, rather than actually conveying critical information. I also agree that the end resul
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book after watching an interesting interview with the author, and would definitely recommend it for both those who remember the Gary Hart scandal -- or think that they do, because Bai's book does nothing if not challenge the accepted order of events that led up to Hart's withdrawal from the 1988 US presidential race -- and those who do not and yet would like to understand how it contributed to the dominant discourse about 'character' in US politics today. The book does an excell ...more
Jul 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
A rather gripping account of the 1988 Gary Hart media frenzy that's especially revelatory for those of us too young to remember it. Matt Bai's main thesis is this: the shameless, intrusive, and salacious coverage of Hart's dalliance with Donna Rice was a dark and pivotal turning point that launched the "era of personal destruction" and irredeemably poisoned the good relations between politicians and reporters. As a result, the "cardinal objective of journalism ha(s) shifted," to the point where ...more
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
In preparation for another presidential campaign, the amateur political scientist in me decided to return to one of my favorite genres: the campaign book.

But rather than fixate on fiction (as has often been my wont), I decided to pick up a factual story, Matt Bai's blow-by-blow account of the precipitous fall of presumptive 1988 nominee, Gary Hart.

The reflection on ideals, hubris, romance, integrity and character is every bit the rip-roaring read that make political scandals so engrossing for th
Feb 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Matt Bai reminds us and informs us of a few things:
1. Gary Hart did not "invite the media" to stake him out before the Miami Herald did so. Its staff, after having already decided to do so, based on a tip by a female friend of a friend of Donna Rice, saw him make his famous quote in an **advance** copy of the NYTimes Mag, given only to select fellow press; the Herald then worked Hart's quote into the story.

2. Hart was an introvert to a fair degree; he was aloof to a fair degree; and he didn't su
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was only 9 the year Gary Hart's fling with Donna Rice exploded in the media, so I don't remember much. I associate him with Tammy Fae Baker and the Iran Contra Hearings, which apparently all happened around the same time. His name is kind of synonymous with "scumbag" in my head. At least it was until I read this book.

As someone interested in the media, journalism and politics, I found this book fascinating. The author provides great insight into Hart as a politician before his downfall, but al
Megan Nigh
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the best political book I have read this year and perhaps one of the more thought provoking I've read. (I have a B.S. in poli sci--so I've read many over the years). Now its with more than a little chagrin, I admit prior to picking up this book I didn't have a clue who Gary Hart was. Having been born just after the events depicted in the book went down, I suppose there isn't a real reason I would have come across his name before. But his story is incredibly interesting.

The book explains
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
The way reporters report on politics used to be different. They used to hang with the politicians. Thay had unwritten rules on what you should and shouldn't write about said politicians. More important, they felt they were in it with those politicians trying to help them change the world -- till Gary Hart. Everything changed when the Current Affair reporter types met the old-school reporter types -- when the fax allowed instant communication -- when said politicians started to become celebrities ...more
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This is the place on the site where I answer those often asked questions: "Who do you think you are?" or "Just where do you get off…?"

You can get the official version of my bio here.

For more than seven years, I've written on national politics for the New York Times Magazine. You can access most of my work on the 2004 and 2008 campaigns and other topics here. My work for the magazine was featured i
“(“If you think education is expensive, wait until you find out how much ignorance costs,” Hart was fond of saying.)” 4 likes
“I tremble for my country when I think we may, in fact, get the kind of leaders we deserve.” 3 likes
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