Out in the world, but still spinning

Well, the Gannon affair didn’t get the press coverage it deserved, but Michiko Kakutani rips Ari Fleischer a new one in her review of his new book:

Th[e] attitude that reporters are more a special-interest group than guardians of the public interest has informed the Bush administration’s dealings with the national press, and it’s reflected in “Taking Heat,” the tedious and tendentious new book by Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary.

“Taking Heat” takes a lot of potshots at the press (including The New York Times), and it reads like the very embodiment of the administration’s disciplined, corporate-style message control.

Full of excerpts from Mr. Fleischer’s often contentious exchanges with members of the press, it is essentially a collection of talking points hastily pasted together with large slatherings of the vitriol and exasperation the author seems to have accumulated during his years as a “piñata,” his word for how he sometimes felt in the White House briefing room. In short, it’s an extended exercise in Mr. Fleischer’s spinning his own earlier spin.


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