Cover image for Attack poodles and other media mutants : the looting of the news in a time of terror
Attack poodles and other media mutants : the looting of the news in a time of terror
Wolcott, James, 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Miramax Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
xii, 312 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E902 .W65 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E902 .W65 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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They are coddled and well-groomed. They chase after the latest scandal and then run around in crazy circles, using the TV studio as their show ring and wee-wee pad. There is no controversy they cant trivialize, no issue they cant vulgarize. They obey their political masters and betray the trust of the audience with every bark. Theyre the attack poodles-a new breed of celebrity pundit. Wisecracking and impassioned, Attack Poodles and Other Media Mutants laces into an all-star cast of blowhard egotists who pound our eardrums and insult our intelligence: Bill OReilly, Joe Scarborough, Peggy Noonan, Dennis Miller, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson. But it also delves below the surface squall of infotainment to show how attack poodles function as pets of the Republican party, guard dogs for George Bush, and tail-waggers for war. In the iconoclastic spirit of Michael Moores Stupid White Men, Al Frankens Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, and Molly Ivins Bushwhacked, Attack Poodles makes serious fun of the pack mentality that has taken over politics and the press in this country and urges us to rip off our blindfolds before its too late.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

If this volume only excoriated the policies of the current Bush administration--which it does--it would go to the end of a serpentine line of books and articles published this season on the topic. However, in looking at those policies through the reportage of those he felt abdicated their professional duties, or who freely allied themselves with the right wing, Vanity Fair cultural critic Wolcott delivers a blistering, funny, and wholly useful reference to the media coverage we'll see in this November's elections. Its topicality probably gives the book a brief shelf life, but Wolcott's overview of the press in 2004 is as sharp as anyone's, and his zingers can be irresistible. On New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman: If he were any more indefatigable, he could chase down his own line drives. --Alan Moores Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

From cultural critic Wolcott (Vanity Fair; the New Yorker) comes an examination of the "infotainment" that he says now passes for political news. In an age brimming with 24-hour news channels, talk radio and the Internet, how is it, Wolcott asks, that Americans seem to be less informed than in the past? He points a finger at the rise of TV news personalities, or the "attack poodles," those ratings-hungry pundits, who, he says, are geared more toward quips, rants, profits and fame than to informing a democratic populace. Wolcott finds examples of the specimen in Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Chris Matthews, Dennis Miller and Bob Novak. Beneath Wolcott's humor and catchy prose, however, lurk some dark revelations, such as a Fox news staffer's claim that he and his colleagues are instructed to seek out stories that "cater to angry, middle-aged white men who listen to talk-radio and yell at their televisions." That strategy quickly took Fox News to the top of the heap and has left the other networks in a dizzying game of catchup that has set what Wolcott sees as a dismal, fractious tone for our national discourse. Intelligent, amusing and insightful, Wolcott's effort is still unlikely to approach sales anywhere close to those of books published recently by some of the "attack poodles" he criticizes. Agent, Elyse Cheney. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Critics of political pundits and cable news shows will be pleased to have another book challenging the conservative side of media bias. Wolcott, the cultural critic for Vanity Fair, labels and names several opinion journalists as "attack poodles." They are "right-wing hacks and liberalish enablers" who advance the cause of those in power. Primarily conservatives, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, and Peggy Noonan are among the "alpha males" and "Malibu Barbies" accused of heightening public hysteria. Wolcott provides a 12-point program for prospective attack poodles. To become a celebrity journalist one must, among other things, abandon ideals, not let facts or truth get in the way, and learn to speak very loudly. Wolcott is a witty, passionate, and strident writer. While highly entertaining, he employs some of the same hatchet-job techniques for which he criticizes other journalists. This work joins the media bias argument on the same side as Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media? and in opposition to Bernard Goldberg's Bias and L. Brent Bozell's Weapons of Mass Distortion. Academic and public libraries should buy for journalism collections.-Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ. Libs., Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.