David's Reviews > All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid

All the Truth Is Out by Matt Bai
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it was ok

If you remember the Gary Hart/Donna Rice/Monkey Business/"follow me around" scandal of 1987, there isn't news here other than some clearing up of confusion in most subsequent accounts/recaps of the exact timeline and sequencing of Miami Herald stakeout vs. publication of the key photo of her sitting on his lap vs. withdrawal from the presidential campaign.......

That the press overemphasizes style, presentation, affability, avoidance of "gaffes", and above all a record free of any evidence of hypocrisy in personal life vs. public policy pronouncements, while underemphasizing policies and governing philosophy is hard to dispute at this point but also not a fresh observation. Author's thesis that it all went downhill with the Hart story is not convincingly argued.

Author swallowed whole Hart's somewhat self-pitying take on the whole thing (why can't I run again, or at least be a respected elder statesman, when Kennedy, Clinton........got away with worse?) and congratulates himself quite a bit for not actually directly asking Hart what really happened with Donna Rice.

My takeaway was that presidential politics and media relations are a lot like other jobs, just on a larger scale. If you mess up royally, but have otherwise cultivated a lot of goodwill along the way and afterward apologize and try to make amends, you'll probably be ok at least eventually (cf. Hart's contemporary Joe Biden's trip from laughingstock plagiarizing someone else's riventing family history to admired Vice President). If you have been aloof and contemptuous and afterward blame the press and clam up, good luck.
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Finished Reading
February 7, 2015 – Shelved

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