In The Obama Hate Machine, Bill Press explains how the media has cooperated and allowed the Koch Brothers to fund a relentless assault of hate designed to destroy President Obama.
Nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and familiar face to CNN and MSNBC viewers, Bill Press sets the tone for the dark voyage that readers are about to go in the introduction when he writes, “The Koch Brothers and other corporate big wigs wrote the checks. Republican politicians and Tea Party activists voiced the attacks. And cable television and newspapers provided a ready national platform. Together they formed a vicious well-funded amoral attack campaign virtually unprecedented in our history: An Obama Hate Machine.”
The chapter that follows provides a brief history some the attacks that presidents have faced. His point is that personal attacks and smears on presidents go the whole way back to George Washington. He specifically details the attacks and FDR and Bill Clinton to set up the contrast between what those Democratic presidents faced and what President Obama has to currently deal with. (Hint: As bad as it might have been for Roosevelt and Clinton, it has been much, much worse for Obama).
After spending two chapters detailing the “othering” of first candidate and then President Obama, the book discusses the volumes of Obama hate literature that have filled the marketplace. Press observes, “By year three of his presidency, a staggering 67 books, at least had been published that demonized Barack Obama – far more than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush ever had to contend with – and the number keeps growing.” By the same point in each of their presidencies, only 11 anti-Clinton books and 5 anti-W books had been published. Mr. Press also gives liberals and progressives a capsule size debunking of 61 Obama hate books on the market from the right, and a handful from the left too.
The Obama Hate Machine kicks into high gear and shines in the final two chapters. The chapter on the Kochs, simply titled “The Brothers” ties together much of the investigation that has been done about Charles and David Koch, and most significantly, deconstructs the Kochtopus.
Bill Press explains how the Koch brothers have created an entire production line to promote and enact their agenda. The Kochs have funded think tanks to promote their ideas (the Cato Institute and The Heritage Foundation, just to name two). Production centers to turn their ideas into policy (ALEC), media to get the word out to their “consumers,” and the consumers themselves. (Koch front groups FreedomWorks and Americans For Prosperity).
The Obama Hate Machine details how after losing the 2008 election, the Republican Party was fertile ground for message from the sons of a Bircher to take root. The book debunks the cover story that Rick Santelli’s CNBC rant launched the Tea Party, and shows that it was all part of a planned roll out of the Kochs’ AstroTurf operation against Obama.
Bill Press saves his harshest criticism for the media. He points out that traditional media outlets have allowed the Obama Hate Machine to flourish unchecked because they now view their job as to be “impartial.”
Mr. Press compared today’s media to Walter Cronkite and wrote, “But now, unfortunately, members of the “impartial” news media think they are doing their job if they just report on what everyone is saying, whether or not what is being said has any actual basis in fact.”
Press not only debunks the myth of the liberal media, but demonstrates how the right has terrorized journalists into submission with threats of labeling them liberal. He also shows how the media’s lack of interest in fact checking due to the pressures of the 24 hour news cycle led them to happily latch on the Kochs’ AstroTurfed Tea Party.
The book’s concluding point is that the Obama Hate Machine wouldn’t be successful if it wasn’t for the media’s willingness to spread the Obama hate message as fact. Press condemns the media for, “Having completely fallen down on the job by merely repeating, rather than countering the lies of the far right.”
Bill Press has written an excellent book that should be read by every voter, and every viewer who depends on the mainstream media for their information. As a member of the White House press corps, he has seen firsthand how our media has aided the hate campaign against President Obama.
Mr. Press delivers an entertaining and informative read. He is no blind Obama supporter. He is not afraid to write about his own frustrations with President Obama, but this book is really about how the far right built a machine designed to take down a sitting Democratic president, and how the media has helped that machine grow stronger by unquestioningly spreading their hate and lies.
If you are a regular reader of this website, you will enjoy The Obama Hate Machine. In a sea of anti-Obama literature, The Obama Hate Machine stands out for its clarity, honesty, and willingness to tell the truth about what has gone terribly wrong both in our politics and our media.
I highly recommend it.