Monday, May 24, 2010

THE PROMISE...about Obama's first year, by Jonathan Alter

I don't tend to do book reports at all here, and I certainly don't do book reports on books I haven't read, but I heard Jonathan Alter on Don Imus' show and was so struck by his bias just in the interview alone that I had to go to and read the reviews of THE PROMISE, his new book about Obama. The reviews range from five star ("He explains the intensity, courage, means of clear thinking, and most especially how Obama used (and uses) politics to advance the necessary future of the American people " Z: "to advance the NECESSARY FUTURE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE?? imagine?) to a review like the one below, which so well describes the sense I got from hearing Alter talk that I decided printing this was better than my going on about what I'd heard in the interview and I want to share it with you: (my comments are italicized from here emphasis is, of course, mine)

The title of this review is : Biased account, but with inside access
, May 19, 2010
D. J. Nardi "TurtleDom" (Washington, DC) -
This review is from: The Promise: President Obama, Year One (Hardcover)
I am an independent who voted for Obama in 2008 and don't regret it (although I am somewhat disappointed in his first year). However, in writing books about politicians, the political scientist in me believes it is crucial to remain objective and try to separate the spin from the reality. For whatever reason, all too often the journalists with the best access in political circles also tend to be the most biased or least analytical. Unfortunately, Jonathan Alter's The Promise: President Obama, Year One is no exception. This book is, to put it kindly, very sympathetic toward the administration. (Z: it was an unbelievable interview between Imus and Alter, whom Imus seems to like very much. Alter has always been hugely sympathetic toward Obama, and is a liberal who writes for Newsweek....but he tells us that he 'had access' to 200 people surrounding Obama as if he could have had trouble obtaining access with the way he glows over Obama and as if they are the people who'll be unbiased and tell him the truth. I mean, you can't make this naivite up, and Imus fell for it, which surprised me.) The reviewer goes on:........
What do I mean by "sympathetic"? I don't certainly mind if an author admires his subject or favors his policy choices.
However, Alter seems determined to find no fault with Obama and dismiss all of his failures as the fault of others. In the introduction, Alter seems to blame Obama's first-year woes on the president's overconfidence in the - get this - the American people. Too often, voters are portrayed as dumb, Republicans as devious, and Obama's policy choices as all brilliant, if misunderstood. However, let's be honest - there are many people who have honest concerns about Obama's policies. I myself agree with some (foreign policy), but not others (healthcare). This sort of bias in The Promise: President Obama, Year One is simply unacceptable in real a history. (Z: the cheapest part of the Imus interview was Alter mentioning that Carla Bruni, Sarkozy's wife, told Michelle Obama that sometimes her husband's being president limits their time for love making...Alter tries to act as if Imus had got him to spill the beans as he admits it was the Queen of England Bruni told Michelle they made wait while they had sex, but when Alter promises a few other hot little items like that you know this was a contrived 'teaser'; any cheap come-on to sell a book is what this sounded like. As for "Republicans as devious," as it says above, I had to laugh when I found this review because that was the exact impression I got when Alter included in his interview, in his always-disparaging treatment toward Republicans, that Conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt loves this book...... "because he can exploit it.") This type of "journalistic history" book is really built around a few revealing anecdotes, without much substance or depth. Probably the biggest reveal is that Greg Craig was offered a judgeship in an attempt to get him to leave the White House quietly. Of course, if you live outside the Beltway, you probably don't know who Greg Craig even is. There are also some interesting comparisons between Obama and Bill Clinton by staffers who worked for both. However, frankly, you could probably read about the most interesting tidbits on Politico's or other political blogs. I wouldn't recommend buying the book unless you're a political junkie. (Z: another point Alter enjoyed driving home was the amount of bad language used by Obama and the rest at the White House staff, which he seemed highly favorable it was some badge of honor and fun information we don't already know) The reviewer goes on....
Overall, this is a 3-star book - with that third star added in recognition of Alter's
hard work getting access and anecdotes. As a study of Obama's first year, it falls short (end of review). (Z: I'd say that the whole Obama first year falls short, not just in this "study", but to say Alter had to work hard at getting access when they love him at the White House for all the pro Obama pieces he writes at Newsweek is a bit of a stretch, don't you think? I mean, hard is it to give access to someone they know will paint their hero in a favorable light?? Wikipedia says about Alter that he views FDR as the "savior of American democracy and capitalism"...I rest my case.)

Unsurprisingly, Amazon's "editorial review" (non-biased?!) said this!: "This brilliant blend of journalism and history offers the freshest reporting and most acute perspective on the biggest story of our time. It will shape impressions of the Obama presidency and of the man himself for years to come." Oh, and here was an interesting review:
"Could only stomach a few pages of this book. Thank God it was given to me versus buying it. In fact they were giving them away by the hundreds. I guess that is one way to stay on the best seller list." (Z: that's true..hmmm).



Anonymous said...

I don’t read romance novels, but I have no qualms with people who do. I don’t care if a journalist wants to write a love story —just don’t sell it as journalism.

Z said...

Mustang, I agree....the very idea that he'd tout this as a kind of investigative journalism is so laughable though.
"i got such access to the WH!" As if they'd give that access to any conservative?
It's the utter hypocrisy I write these media blogs about/for.......
let him write a 'slobbering love story' (as Bernard Goldberg calls it)...don't lie to us and present this as fact or even unbiased conjecture, don't think we're stupid.

FrogBurger said...

Oh well. Can't be worse than Kagan saying Obama is like a rock star.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

If there's any "exploitation" of the book to be had, it's obviously at the hands of Alter himself. It was my understanding that, after the interviews, Mr Obaka had a staffer wipe Alter's drool off Obaka's John Lobbs. They didn't want his Jermyn II's to stain.


Z said...


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

George Clooney made the rock star comment. Evan Thomas said Obaka is like a god.


Anonymous said...

I saw Jonathan Alter interviewed the other day. He has ALWAYS disgusted me. His liberalism is written all over his face. No amount of scrubbing could ever wash it clean.

Now he's bald and getting fat, and that makes him even more disgusting.

Sorry to be so negative, but I wouldn't bother to read a word generated by this egregious bull licker of the left.

Everything he says is a RATIONALIZATION. He's nothing but a professional APOLOGIST for the atrocious behavior of Fifth Columnists. In truth he is ONE OF THEM.


~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

I meant BUTT not BULL -- naturally.

~ FT

Anonymous said...

"George Clooney made the rock star comment. Evan Thomas said Obaka is like a god."

BZ, Woody Allen topped them all. He said Obama should be allowed to be a "temporary" dictator. Ummm, yeah, we all know how temporary dictators are.

This is why people like Woody Allen should stick to pretend scripts. They have no concept of reality. In fact they're a bunch of useful idiots like any cult followers, they can't think.

Besides, anyone who has pedophilic tendendcies ought to stay under the rock he lives under.


Anonymous said...

"Woody Allen topped them all. He said Obama should be allowed to be a "temporary" dictator."

Before Hitler started to deport, detain, execute and annihilate them...they said the same things. That...he'd never harm them as they were and had always been...GERMANS. Hmmmm...maybe they should listen to the "Rev." Wright or Louie Farrakhan's speeches again?

But...idiots they can be...even Iran's hitler...cannot dissuade them form another holocaust?


FrogBurger said...

Yes, Z she said it. link
She's a pathetic woman. Shows how little intellect she has.

Z said...

FB, I watched 2 minutes and had to turn it off. She is AMAZINGLY creepy to watch.......very nervous, ...and LOVES OBAMA.
This is scarier than I thought.
Thanks for the link, but I'm really so sad about this.

Anonymous said...

Rx for Elena Kagan:

Weight Watchers


Speech Therapy

Charm School

Wardrobe consultant

Ditch the glasses


Not necessarily in that order.

The way her body kept MOVING INCESSANTLY from side to side and her general TONE of voice make her not just desperately unattractive, but frankly REPUGNANT.

Bader Ginsburg is from NYC and so is this Kagan Kreature. These dogs come from the same Kennel.

Shouldn't that be viewed as OVER-REPRENTATION of both FEMALES and NOO YAWKAS?

Also must add in the interests of fairness that Breier (Brayer?) comes from the same ethnic group as the two Females, and Scalia, and Alito are both of Italian descent, and ALSO come from the New York Metropolitan Area.

Shouldn't SOMEONE be there to represent and defend the interests and sympathies of the South, the Midwest, the Southwest and the Northwest?

The court will soon be made up of SIX CATHOLICS and THREE JEWS. Not a Protestant in the pile.

I'm sorry, folks, but that bugs the BEJESUS out of me.

This country was FOUNDED by non-Catholics from a distinctly White Anglo-Saxon Protestant background.

That the people of our FOUNDING are no longer represented AT ALL on THE most powerful and influential branch of the now-all-powerful federal government strikes me as a deliberate political ploy calculated eventually to ANNIHILATE the mores, values and traditions of the Founders.

~ FreeThinke

Susannah said...

Fabulous comments here!

Good expose' Z. Keep up the good work!

btw, My post today is dedicated (& linked) to you!

Anonymous said...

Alter practices lingual anal osculation as he kneels behind the icons of the left -- living and dead.

~ FT