If there's a silver lining to the dark cloud that is Game Change, it's that the nastiest campaign gossip book in years has inspired several amusing and creative denunciations of the both book and its authors, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.
Don Imus, for example, referred to it as "a 450-page version of Page Six," according to Halperin.
The Huffington Post's Jason Linkins -- who notes of the authors' sourcing rules: "It's too charitable to simply call this shady" -- adds:
What you will get from this tome is the experience of being dragged through a great, teeming, gossipy Superfund-sized pile of shit, lovingly accumulated by two authors who have basically allowed anyone willing to offer nasty hearsay, trash-talk, or score-settling to dump away.
It's all in the service of utter, black venality. I am honestly depressed to be have so much of this book yet to read. My only comfort is that I wasn't the one who chose to masticate, digest, and regurgitate this shit in the first place.
There is nothing in the book that will deepen your understanding of the information beyond what others regurgitate about it. In fact, it's possible that actually READING the book will make you dumber. You certainly will learn more about how Washington works from reading what people say about the book than from the book itself.
(And, bonus Ana Marie Cox: "Washington has a scab. Game Change is the horrible oozing infection that comes after you pick at it.")
Bob Franken, on H/H explanation of the ground rules they used for interviews:
That's the most convoluted explanation I've heard in a long time. There's one thing that you have to remember in Washington: You don't burn sources. You don't burn them not because it's the right thing to do, it's because you don't get any information the next time around. And I really believe that what we might see is that these guys are not going to be welcome when they're talking to different people who might provide them information in the future.
[I]f the authors were concerned with accuracy they might have checked their reporting with people on the Vice President's staff. They did not.
(Ok, that one isn't all that amusing -- until you remember that Carney worked with Halperin at Time before joining Vice President Biden't staff.)
A book based on backstabbing gossip from disgruntled campaign aides and pissed off rivals is about as reliable a six year olds playing a game of telephone. When you combine these nasty little tidbits with the Villager sensibility and biases of the writers, you end up with a docu-drama rather than a work of non-fiction.
I'm sure Heilemann and Halperin are very proud to be the top, tabloid journalists in the country providing much shaudenfreude for the Villagers and entertainment for everyone else. They'll sell a lot of books
it's human nature to like mean, nasty gossip
and this one looks like it gives TMZ a run for its money.
Notably, the Edwards scandal was relentlessly pursued and first "broken" by The National Enquirer, and I defy anyone to read the book excerpt on Edwards (to the extent you can even get through it) and identify any differences between the book's tone, content and "reporting" methods and those found in the Enquirer.
Just when you think the news cycle can't get any stupider, Mark Halperin publishes a book.
But perhaps the most damning reaction to Game Change is this: Politico ran at least 16 articles and blog posts about the book before it had been in book stores for 48 hours.