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Dish: The Inside Story on the World of Gossip
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Dish: The Inside Story on the World of Gossip

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  587 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Gossip. It's more than just hearsay. society columns, and supermarket tabloids. It has, like it or not, become a mainstay of American pop culture. In Dish, industry insider Jeannette Walls gives this provocative subject its due, offering a comprehensive, serious exploration of gossip and its social, historical, and political significance. Examining the topic from the insid ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 7th 2000 by William Morrow (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.43  · 
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Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
I would read Jeannette Walls grocery lists, I adore her so. The history of tabloids - what's not to love? The thoroughness of this book is shocking, and in parts it was almost too thorough for me. With the early history, most of the people were unfamiliar, and I found myself flipping around to remind myself of who they were when the tabloid world began to overlap and become quite incestuous. When the people involved were familiar to me, I could not put this down. WOW. I will say I will rarely (I ...more
Jun 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book Jeannette Walls chronicles tabloid journalism from the 1930's to the present. The rose colored glasses were torn from my eyes and any illusions regarding serious journalism vs tabloid shattered. The biggest shock to my nervous system was learning that my beloved "60 Minutes" is/was primarily based on smarmy standards akin to The Enquirer. Celebrity sleeze and scandal. Shock and awe. Eeeek. I used to watch it faithfully every Sunday and my world view was based on the trust that 60 Mi ...more
Early nonfiction from the author of The Glass Castle. Very interesting to read about how 60 Minutes staffers were once associated with sleazy, checkbook journalism. Also a surprise to find out why People magazine is called that: Its creator wanted it to focus on people only--not on places (like National Geographic) or issues (like Time or Newsweek) or ideas.

I would have liked to read more about celebrities who refuse to work with the media most or all of the time (there are a few).

Minus one star
"I cannot avoid the temptation of wondering whether there is any other industry in this country which seeks to presume so completely to give the customer what he does not want" - Rupert Murdoch on the media and the desire to tell the end user what the media wanted them to know

This is a book which was published in 2000 and does an excellent job of showing how gossip based media was created, evolved and became mainstream. The first time that gossip took over the Networks and traditional Newspaper
April Hochstrasser
May 28, 2009 rated it liked it
If you don't think the world of gossip is bought and paid for by the people who are portrayed, think again. This was an eye opening book about the back story of publications such as People and the Enquirer and TV shows such as Entertainment Tonight. I was very much surprised at the deals that are struck by the stars and the rags, (If you'll give us a scoop about your alcoholic son we won't publish a story about your infidelities). All the popular names in recent history, JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Mari ...more
Mar 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I love Jeannette Walls and I thought I'd love this book, too. I thought it would be really intriguing. But I just couldn't get into it. There weren't any "characters " I cared about. Guess that's why I don't like to watch the news. I think the subject is fascinating, because the news really is just another gossip show. Just watching all those up-and-coming reporters as they fake their emotions makes me sick. I wanted the book to be a more scathing rant against what current news programming has b ...more
Sep 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Suzy Crofton
If you read "Glass Castle" by this author, you know she is some kind of writer. That book states that she is a columnist for MSNBC, I think. I was surprised to find out that she's a gossip columnist, which seems too frivolous for her. She has a new book out that I was trying to get at my library and I think it's too new, so I'll have to wait. In the meantime I found this book, and it's fascinating. It's not about personalities so much as it is about the history of gossip, from "Hollywood Confide ...more
Aug 21, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this book based on my good opinions of the author's other books, "The Glass Castle" and "Half Broke Horses". I found the history of tabloid journalism and the evolution of such publications as "The National Enquirer" and "People" fascinating. I may never look at "60 Minutes" the same again. There were several revelations made and those I took as entertainment, like I take current celebrity gossip. I have no way of knowing if any of it is true but it is fun to read. I wish there were photo ...more
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I was a bit surprised by the complicitness of the stars in dishing their own dirt. Call me naive, but I really believed that celebrities were angry by the tales told by the tabloids. Not so, not so, at least in many cases. I was also amazed at how much information was kept back from the public regarding our political leaders. That was a bit disturbing. My naivite again, I guess.
DISH is an entertaining read and the other flavors it with tidbits of juicy gossip along th
Nov 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up at the library because I loved Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle. Walls is a gossip writer in New York (the opposite of her difficult childhood?), and this book is about the history of gossip/tabloid media (newspaper, TV, internet). It is really fascinating, very dense (slow going sometimes)--not a quick read but very interesting and well-written.
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. It gives the back story of the gossip industry, which is practically all journalism nowadays! I had read Jeannette Walls' two memoirs and this was completely different. This book was very well researched and she names all the names. Fascinating!
May 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
The history of celebrity gossip. Sounds great, right? Not so much.
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't say I was impressed with this one. It was somewhat interesting, but it wasn't what I expected. I stopped half way through, as it appeared to be just a history of the National Inquirer. I expected this to be an analysis and the trends of the general news industry. Perhaps it moves this direction in the second half, but I wasn't willing to continue to find out.
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
Ugh. You'd think a book about gossip would be interesting. Spoiler alert: it's not. At least not in the hands of this author. Snooze fest. Unforgivable typos/editing misses. Blech.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book was a history of recent popular journalism since the 50s--pretty much the span of my life--describing how it has morphed from reporting to an odd blend of scandal-mongering and press-release reprinting. Walls pins each development to a specific event or person and that did a lot to clarify what I have read as "news" all my life. To tell the story, she had to "dish" on a lot of situations and celebrities, and in thinking about that, it seems that it was necessary to making her points, bu ...more
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this book because I adored her novels (Half broke horses/glass castle). At first it was very interesting, but then it began to feel extremely gossipy instead of factual. Then I arrived at a part in the book where she was trying to illustrate how extreme celebrity had become in the late 70's/early 80's. Saying how demanding celebrities had become, she cited a legendary story involving Van Halen and brown M&M's and I knew she had the facts wrong because I'd seen a documentary ...more
Apr 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book title intrigued me...because I wondered how the nightly news and/or newspapers had become so "gossipy". The author has done her research and has documented the trend of straight newsreporting into the current news shows which prevail either on network TV, cable or printed matter. I chose 3 stars because, although the Cliff note version of the book would have suited me as well or better, this is a well written, very well documented book of the history of written and spoken journalism.
Jul 16, 2008 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. It is still a journalist writing about journalism and so is biased, but it does show how news reporting has changed since WWII. News reporting is no longer news, but is often opinion pieces about events. Often the subjects are covered in a gossip fashion. I did learn some things and had many things confirmed. It has not changed my negative view of journalists, and their bottom line being "what will sell."
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Ms. Walls has researched thoroughly for this unusual book.
I have noticed that even the 'mainstream' press has become enamored of tabloid type 'reporting' the past 10 years or so, and the past few years there is a dearth of HARD news, but the gossipy tabloid crap is overwhelming.

This book tracks the development of the trend to replace hard news with tabloid crap. It is a very good read.
May 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Addicted to celebrity gossip and have no idea why? This book is a fun way to learn about the history and politics of the entire industry. I'll open next month's People magazine with a different perspective.
Mar 27, 2011 rated it liked it
It was ok, I am a big Jeanette Walls fan, but frnkly this book could have been written by anyone. The topic was entertaining, but it was very redundant. The book was wrought with combersome detail, that almost seemed repetitive at times.
Dec 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I flew through this is a fascinating, well-written look at the origins of gossip media and what a cut-throat industry it has become.
Jun 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and a quick read. I'd love to read an updated version for the internet age. I bet Jeannette Walls would have some things to say about TMZ and Perez Hilton.
Jul 25, 2011 added it
2008- Kinda dry.
Aug 04, 2011 added it
Gives the scoop on gossip columnists, broadcasters, and scandal sheets like the National Enquirer.
Mar 02, 2010 rated it liked it
sounds like what it is... a history of how gossip columns & tabloids came to be ...more
Cathryn Conroy
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, how juicy! And oh, how very informative!

This extraordinarily well-researched and imminently readable book by Jeannette Walls is essentially the history of celebrity journalism, beginning with the first newspaper gossip columns of the 1950s that were largely controlled by the movie studios, the explosion of tabloid newspapers and TV shows, the premiere of "People" magazine and finally the reluctant acquiescence of hard-news outlets to include celebrity news, lest they perish in the ratings g
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book wasn't quite what I was expecting. I picked it up because I really enjoyed The Glass Castle, and I was curious to see what Walls would do with non-fiction. I also thought it sounded relevant to the current times. I didn't realize that Walls was a gossip columnist by profession and that this book was written in 2000.

What I liked: It was entertaining, and Walls really lays out the transformation of media through the influence of gossip. In the 18 years since she wrote it, the move towar
Karen Fisher
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting details about the history of gossip & how it has morphed into Daily Network news. While I MUCH prefer Jeanette Wall's personal history books, Half Broke Horses & The Glass Palace, this is a timely read. Since I have lived thru most of the timeline of the story, I was fascinated to learn about the inside scoop. It was a little walk back thru history from a different point of view. I prefer fiction, but I think everyone should read non-fiction regularly as well for educational pur ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because it was by Jeanette Walls, whose books I have loved. This book is different from the others by her that I've read. I still enjoyed it, but this is an historical look at what has been happening in the world of media in the past decades. I learned a lot about how the world transitioned from a clear line between 'gossip' and 'journalism' to the place we are today. A lot has to do with the public's desire for media to "go where the stink is" and the ratings race to give ...more
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Jeannette Walls is a writer and journalist.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, she graduated with honors from Barnard College, the women's college affiliated with Columbia University. She published a bestselling memoir, The Glass Castle, in 2005. The book was adapted into a film and released to theaters in August, 2017.

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