Fleischer and McClellan Books Get Vastly Different Press

Newsbusters’ Rich Noyes observes that the mass media seems much more excited by Scott McClellan’s new book trashing the Bush Administration than it did with predecessor Ari Fleischer’s book which had mostly good things to say about his former boss.

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, while McClellan’s yet-to-be-officially-published book has already become the liberal media’s favorite story of the day, a Nexis search shows that Fleischer’s memoir generated virtually no broadcast or cable news coverage, and no front-page coverage in the nation’s newspapers.

While I’m too lazy to look up the details, I seem to recall the press being more excited by memoirs by former Clinton officials, like Robert Reich and George Stephanopoulos, who said negative things about the administration, than books that were laudatory; indeed, while I presume there were books in that latter category, I can’t recall any off the top of my head. This is the difference between “man bites dog” and “dog bites man,” methinks.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. patrick says:

    Counting the number and amount of coverage ignores what is actually said during that coverage. Although McClellan has received more coverage than Fleischer, aside from Olberman, every bit of the coverage I have sen has been personal attacks on McClellan — “That isn’t the Scott we knew”, “he should have spoke up then”, “he’s bitter because of the Plame affair” — or denials and discounting of much of what McClellan says, see Glenn Greenwald’s post on the MSM’s self deluded denials of McClellan’s contention that they were to obsequious during the run up to the Iraq war.

    The amount of press isn’t necessarily an accurate measure of the effect of the press.




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  2. Bithead says:

    Well, I wonder if McClellan’s book, being proven to be a George Soros Hack job might give you a clue on why the two books were being treated differently in the press.




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  3. LaurenceB says:

    Well, I wonder if McClellan’s book, being proven to be a George Soros Hack job might give you a clue on why the two books were being treated differently in the press.

    When and how was it proven to be funded by George Soros?

    If it was backed by Soros, why would that make it a hack job?

    And why exactly would Soros’ backing make the book any more attractive to a reporter or pundit?

    (I’m going to be sorry I asked. I know.)




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  4. Bithead says:

    Well, some research of course. I had an idea this was the case, and so did some research on the publisher. I won’t bother listing my own research, because you’ll question it out of hand. And anyway, Stop the ACLU got to it first:

    I neglected to mention the traitor McClellan’s Bush bashing book cuz I had nothing to say that so many others hadn’t already covered, but now there may be a new twist. Tipster John Mark Williams of Frisco, TX did some research:

    Here’s a great tip for you. The company that published McClellan’s new book is Public Affairs Books, and their Editor at Large is a guy named Osnos. He’s had a lot of lefty causes in his background (stuff like Director of Human Rights Watch). His bio is here.

    But it gets better. The owner of Public Affairs Books is a company called
    Perseus Book Group. Here’s their ownership tree.

    I researched the firm and it’s owned by Perseus Funds Group, (holding company Perseus LLC) a capital management firm that grew from about $20 million in 1995 to over $2 billion now. Big infusions of cash seemed to help it grow exponentially and it closed funds almost as fast as it opened
    them. The board has tons of liberals from the Clinton and Carter Administrations with credentials that almost put Osnos’ to shame as far as far left causes go. Their website is here.

    Well, I went to the NY Secretary of State office (Perseus is a NY Corp)
    and found the following on the second page:

    PERSEUS, L.L.C.
    PERSEUS-SOROS BIOPHARMACEUTICAL FUND, LP
    PERSEUS-SOROS BIOPHARMACEUTICAL INVESTORS, LP
    PERSEUS-SOROS MANAGEMENT, LLC

    NewsBusters also have a writeup on this very point this morning:

    Peter Osnos, who wrote Wednesday that he “worked very closely” with Scott McClellan on McClellan’s new book published by PublicAffairs which Osnos founded, is a liberal whose publishing house is affiliated with the far-left The Nation magazine and the publisher of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. PublicAffairs has a roster of authors who are nearly all liberals and/or liberal-leaning mainstream media figures, including six books by far-left bank-roller George Soros. On Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, Ari Fleischer related that “Scott told me that his editor did ‘tweak,’ in Scott’s word, a lot of the writing, especially in the last few months.” In an “Eat the Press” blog entry Wednesday, Rachel Sklar asked Osnos: “Did you work directly on the book with McClellan? (Who was his editor?)” Osnos replied: “The editor was Lisa Kaufman and yes, I worked very closely with them.”

    That’ll give you enough to start with,I think.




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  5. Bithead says:

    Reply is forthcoming, it’s stuck in the filter. Meanhile, check here.




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  6. FormerHostage says:

    Maybe the book is payback?




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  7. Michael says:

    Bithead, so your claim is that any and all books published by this publishing house are suspect?




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  8. Bithead says:

    Michael:

    Let’s see, here.

    Soros has flatly stated he will do anything to get back at GWB, and to se a Democrat control of our government. Need I more to cause me to suspect him?

    More, What was the claim about Fox news when they had Bubba Clinton on fire for lying under oath, for the 900 (Actually a couple thousand) FBI files, and so on?

    Please.




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  9. Michael says:

    Soros has flatly stated he will do anything to get back at GWB, and to se a Democrat control of our government. Need I more to cause me to suspect him?

    No, but you do need to prove that he had the ability and opportunity to do so through this publishing house. I’d do anything (legal) to take down GWB, but that alone isn’t enough to prove that everything I touch is turned towards that purpose.

    More, What was the claim about Fox news when they had Bubba Clinton on fire for lying under oath, for the 900 (Actually a couple thousand) FBI files, and so on?

    And that has exactly what to do with the editorial and approval processes of Public Affairs Books?




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  10. Bithead says:

    No, but you do need to prove that he had the ability and opportunity to do so through this publishing house.

    If owning the place and paying the slaries of the people inside it doesn’t do it for you, i fail to see what would.

    And that has exactly what to do with the editorial and approval processes of Public Affairs Books?

    Just this; I’m questioning your dancing around it, given the recent history of the left.




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  11. Michael says:

    If owning the place and paying the slaries of the people inside it doesn’t do it for you, i fail to see what would.

    I’m sorry, did you claim that Soros owned Public Affairs Books, or just that he was connected to with by a string of separate business relationships? Can you show that George Soros had any more influence over McClellan’s book than Rupert Murdoch had over Ari Fleischer’s?




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  12. LaurenceB says:

    And, I might add, that Bithead has completely ignored my third question, namely:

    Even if we assume Soros was in complete control of the book’s contents and that Soros is an evil hack (neither of which I think are true), how does that translate into more attention being given to the book by the press?




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  13. Bithead says:

    Even if we assume Soros was in complete control of the book’s contents and that Soros is an evil hack (neither of which I think are true), how does that translate into more attention being given to the book by the press?

    I suppose you would need to ignore the last 60 years of left-leaning by our press to make such a statement. As such, it dodn’t seem worth a response.




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  14. Bithead says:

    I’m sorry, did you claim that Soros owned Public Affairs Books, or just that he was connected to with by a string of separate business relationships? Can you show that George Soros had any more influence over McClellan’s book than Rupert Murdoch had over Ari Fleischer’s?

    And how would that matter to the point I made?




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  15. Michael says:

    I suppose you would need to ignore the last 60 years of left-leaning by our press to make such a statement. As such, it dodn’t seem worth a response.

    Public Affairs Books is now a news organization owned and operated by George Soros? Any other allegations you’d like to pull out of your nether regions Bit?

    And how would that matter to the point I made?

    Your claimed that McClellan’s book is being treated differently by the press because it is being pushed by someone with a political objective, where as Ari Fleischer’s book was not. My point is that Fleischer’s book was more closely associated with Rupert Murdoch than McClellan’s was with George Soros.

    If your hypothesis is that a book’s publicity is determined by someone with control over the book having a political agenda, then Fleischer’s book should have gotten more attention, and observations would disprove that hypothesis.




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  16. Bithead says:

    Public Affairs Books is now a news organization owned and operated by George Soros? Any other allegations you’d like to pull out of your nether regions Bit?

    Examine (Perhaps for the first time) the question I was being asked:

    how does that translate into more attention being given to the book by the press?




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  17. Bithead says:

    Your claimed that McClellan’s book is being treated differently by the press because it is being pushed by someone with a political objective, where as Ari Fleischer’s book was not.

    Ummm… No. I’m suggesting that they’re being treated differently because the political objective of the publisher of the book is one SHARED by the press, whereas the things caonained in Ari Fleischer’s book, do not lean toward those political objectives.

    Do I really need to spell all this out for you?




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  18. joe says:

    Even before the Iraq war, many people knew that Bush was manipulating the information concerning WMDs but to add on to what McCellan had shared, there was a conspiracy.. Bush was only part as well as the media and FCC.. The Iraq war wasn’t about WMDs, spread of democracy, not even about oil…but according to Phillip Zelikow who was on the 911 commission “It was all about Israel” and the NWO agenda.

    http://ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=23083
    http://joeland7.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/the-new-world-order-religious-and-political-conspiracy/
    http://joeland7.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/beware-of-the-beast-the-beasts-of-revelation-13-identified/




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  19. Michael says:

    No. I’m suggesting that they’re being treated differently because the political objective of the publisher of the book is one SHARED by the press

    Oh, you’re still on that “Liberal Media” band wagon. Nevermind.




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  20. Bithead says:

    The pattern’s there, Michael, your pretending it doesn’t exist not withstanding…




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  21. pylon says:

    I see that

    (a) Public Affairs publishes books by noted liberals Conrad Black, Vladimir Putin, Charles Duelfer, Brian Doherty, etc.

    (b) Perseus also seems to own Basic Books, whose satble includes liberals William F. Buckley and Richard Brookhiser.




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  22. pylon says:

    satble = stable 🙂




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  23. Michael says:

    The pattern’s there, Michael, your pretending it doesn’t exist not withstanding…

    I’m willing to bet you can’t actually prove the existence of a pattern.




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  24. Bithead says:

    Pylon, Are you really suggesting Putin isn’t a leftist?

    As for Conrad Black, I note he only got published there after July of 2007. I’ll leave investigating the point behind that date, to you.

    And Brian Doherty? Clearly you don’t know the difference between a libertarian and a conservative.

    Michael
    I give you the NY Times.

    And you know about all the rest. I don’t need to prove that to you or anyone else; It’s been proven thousands of times per day.

    A new survey confirms that liberals and Democrats dominate the major media.

    As an example: I commend to your reading a book I’ve just finished: “The American Journalist in the 21st Century: US News People at the Dawn of a New Millennium.”

    The book among it’s other findings, reports that 40 percent of journalists think of themselves as being on left side of the political spectrum whereas conservatives make up only 25 percent. Moderates made up 33 percent. (But of course as Bush and McCain show us, moderates are liberals, as well.

    On the matter of party affiliation, the book reports 36 percent of journalists said they’re Democrats, but only 18 percent sau they were Republicans.

    Are you getting all of this?

    Now, Gallup, a few years back did a similar study on the political makup of the Aerican people. The findings?

    Remember, 40 percent of the journalists are liberal. Gallup reports only 17 percent of the public is.

    Looking at it the other way, 41 percent of the public is conservative, but only 25 percent of the journalists are.




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  25. LaurenceB says:

    I suppose you would need to ignore the last 60 years of left-leaning by our press to make such a statement. As such, it dodn’t seem worth a response.

    I kinda assumed that was your answer. It’s an easy one.

    But if that’s the reason the book is getting all of the attention, than Soros is irrelevant, isn’t he? Any and all left-leaning books would get more attention, Soros or no Soros.




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  26. Michael says:

    And you know about all the rest. I don’t need to prove that to you or anyone else; It’s been proven thousands of times per day.

    Careful Bit, you’re starting to sound like one of those people who thinks they can prove the existence of God by saying “Look around you, that’s proof!”. Sorry, but I need scientific, mathematical or logical evidence, or it’s not proof of anything.

    The book among it’s other findings, reports that 40 percent of journalists think of themselves as being on left side of the political spectrum whereas conservatives make up only 25 percent. Moderates made up 33 percent.

    Yes, and a majority of biologists believe in evolution, and a majority of climate scientists believe in global warming, and a majority of highly educated people are liberal. The truth doesn’t have a liberal bias, it’s just the truth.




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  27. Bithead says:

    I kinda assumed that was your answer. It’s an easy one.

    The truth sometimes works that way. OTOH, sometimes it’s the hardest thing.

    But if that’s the reason the book is getting all of the attention, than Soros is irrelevant, isn’t he?

    Soros himself has always been so. That’s the point that many seem to miss. His money, on the other hand, is another matter.

    Careful Bit, you’re starting to sound like one of those people who thinks they can prove the existence of God by saying “Look around you, that’s proof!”. Sorry, but I need scientific, mathematical or logical evidence, or it’s not proof of anything.

    But as I’ve demonstrated the evidence is all around… seems every week another study proves the point yet again. Such have been coming with some degree of regularity since the Johnson Administration, and before. I note with some interest a study of the election coverage posted over at Q&O, though I’ve not had a chance to read it through yet… but I’ll mention it as the most recent example.

    Yes, and a majority of biologists believe in evolution, and a majority of climate scientists believe in global warming, and a majority of highly educated people are liberal. The truth doesn’t have a liberal bias, it’s just the truth.

    Thing is, by your own standards, you’re now going to need to prove that statement.




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  28. Michael says:

    But as I’ve demonstrated the evidence is all around… seems every week another study proves the point yet again.

    All you’ve proven is that people who report the news self-identify as liberals. What you haven’t shown is that their reporting is due to their self-identification, and not the other way around.

    Thing is, by your own standards, you’re now going to need to prove that statement.

    Prove what, that truth doesn’t have a liberal bias? Unless you’re crazy enough to think that truth is subjective, your anthropomorphic labels are logically false.




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  29. Bithead says:

    All you’ve proven is that people who report the news self-identify as liberals.

    we also seem to have proven you consider that lean to have no consequence. Would you be quite so generous if most reporters were conservative? You know better.




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  30. Michael says:

    we also seem to have proven you consider that lean to have no consequence. Would you be quite so generous if most reporters were conservative? You know better.

    If a liberal says the earth is round, is that statement biased because they are liberals? If you don’t like the statements, show them to be wrong, accusing someone of bias doesn’t matter if their statements are true.

    Seriously, Bit, the truth coming from a liberal is the same as the truth coming from a conservative. Again, unless you think that truth is subjective, in which case it’d be a waste of time to try and convince your of anything.




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  31. Bithead says:

    Uh huh…

    And who gets to decide what is objective truth?

    Apparently the liberals running the press do, by your lights.




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  32. Michael says:

    And who gets to decide what is objective truth?

    What part of “objective truth” makes you think that anybody gets to decide? It is what it is.

    If you doubt what I claim to be true, then you can prove it wrong, or I can prove it right, but in the end truth is discovered, nobody decides it.




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  33. pylon says:

    Pylon, Are you really suggesting Putin isn’t a leftist?

    As for Conrad Black, I note he only got published there after July of 2007. I’ll leave investigating the point behind that date, to you.

    And Brian Doherty? Clearly you don’t know the difference between a libertarian and a conservative.

    No, Putin is not a leftist. He’s an authoritarian. And I stand by my description of Doherty (though I fail to see how describing him as a libertarian proves your assertion that the publisher pushes liberal writing).

    Gee, they only published Black after 2007? And your point is….? BTW, when did they publish McLellan?

    I guess you had no answer on the rest of the post.




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  34. Bithead says:

    If you doubt what I claim to be true, then you can prove it wrong, or I can prove it right, but in the end truth is discovered, nobody decides it.

    But the complaints you’re making about the press only being reporters and not digging for the ‘truth’ suggests you think the objective truth can be determined. Now, you’re saying it can’t. Which we we going with this thing?




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  35. Michael says:

    But the complaints you’re making about the press only being reporters and not digging for the ‘truth’ suggests you think the objective truth can be determined. Now, you’re saying it can’t. Which we we going with this thing?

    I think you’re confusing two different conversations here, Bit.




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