Lies, Damned Lies, And Tell-All Books

Peggy Noonan has, perhaps surprisingly, some positive things to say about former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s new “tell-all” book. As much as it would be valuable to have more inside looks at what happened in the run-up to the war in Iraq, McClellan’s book is tainted right from the start.

The Wall Street Journal connects the dots and finds that McClellan’s book was funded and published by the usual radical left-wing groups. That alone isn’t fatal, but the way in which this book is being fawned over reeks of an organized media strategy—the sort of thing which suggest that the real purpose of this book is not to tell the truth, but to advance an agenda. Even Noonan admits that the book is vapid and makes the same unsubstantiated allegations that we have all heard before.

Compare that reaction to the refusal of the mainstream media to even acknowledge Douglas Feith’s book on the start of the war in Iraq. Feith was a central player in that conflict, where McClellan was not. Feith has backed up his memories with actual documentation, while McClellan’s book has not.

The reason for the disparate treatment is obvious: McClellan is telling the media exactly what they want to hear; Feith’s narratives go against the media’s prejudices on Iraq.

It would be valuable to get to the truth about what really went on during the months before the invasion of Iraq, but expecting the truth from an author who is being swept up in such a self-serving media frenzy is too much to ask.