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  • Friday, April 28, 2006


    Spanking the Donkey

    I commented on the Wimblehack contest(to find the winner of the worst campaign coverage of the 2004 Presidential race back in the fall of 2004 (here, here and here.) The author of that piece, Matt Taibbi, caught my eye as a witty and ascerbic writer. While not slavishly imitating Hunter S. Thompson, it is easy to see parallels in their styles.

    So when I had a chance to pick up his book Spanking the Donkey: On the Campaign Trail with the Democrats, (ISBN 1565848918) in a local used bookstore, I snapped it up.

    My first impressions are very favorable. I found myself reading lines aloud in bed to Fierce Celt (my housemate) because they were so funny. His dissection of the media coverage of the anti-war march in Washington DC just before the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was hilarious. I'm not sure I completely agree with his views on why people attended but I'm willing to give him leeway on the subject. Particularly scathing was the treatment the media gave to the pro-war rally before the anti-war march. Pro-war attendees: 80 people, 40 journalists. Anti-war march attendees: 200,000 to 300,000 marchers. Number of anti-war marchers reported in news reports: none gave a number higher than 30,000 marchers. Some news reports were actually phrased in such a way that they implied the numbers of the two groups was not very different. Hooray for the liberal media.

    I think the book is worth seeking out.

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