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Publisher Description

New York Times Bestseller

Ever wonder how politics turned into a take-no-prisoners blood sport? The New York Times bestselling 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.

Politics & Current Events
June 27

Customer Reviews

Extensionqueenlv ,


I’ve read many political books, everything from navy seals, the clintons, Trump’s books, all of oreillys...this has to be one of the very best. It’s a scary world we live in and I’m finding out the more I know, the scarier it gets! The days of bliss and ignorance are gone for me. Now it’s all about knowledge. I read this book in about two weeks, in between ‘Killing England’ and ‘No Easy Day’, two other great books of much different substance. Buy this book, you won’t regret it for a moment.

Cyndy60 ,

The Smear

What a great book. I couldn't put it down. Every person should read this book. I was astonished to read how many corrupt journalists and news agencies there are who are working together to disseminate fake news!!!

flugm ,

An exhausting slog through the current media environment

Sharyl has a solid book here, but the poor readers will have to relive the last 2 years (election campaign) via this book, and if you felt any fatigue after the 2016 election, I’d recommend waiting on this book: it will bring back that high-intensity exhaustion around the news and Trump presidency.

That being said, she spends quite a bit of time detailing the influence of media matters and its umbrella organizations (which I was a bit surprised at its size). It’s disappointing to read how poorly the media does its research, and how corruptible it is both all kinds of organizations (political and corporate).

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