WashPost ‘Best Books’ List Tilts Left In The ‘Year Of The Presidential Expose’

Posted on Sat 11/24/2018 by


By Tim Graham ~

On Sunday, The Washington Post published a list of the Best Books of 2018 (and forget about December). Book World editor Stephanie Merry celebrated a “parade of tell-alls” denouncing President Trump in the apparent “year of the presidential expose.” The obvious joke here is there is no “year of the presidential expose” when an Obama or Clinton is in the White House. That’s for knuckle-dragging impeachment freaks in those years.

Under the headline “Fury roared and Fear shook us, but nonpolitical reads provided respite,” Merry summarized on the front page of the Arts & Style section:

Will 2018 go down as the year of the presidential exposé? It felt that way at times. As the new year dawned, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury lit up political and literary conversations, only to be overshadowed by a parade of tell-alls, from the pyrotechnics of Omarosa Manigault Newman’s Unhinged to the trenchant reporting of Bob Woodward’s Fear (plus a few juicy tidbits from James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty and the lamentable mental images from Full Disclosure, by Stormy Daniels). Each release followed a pattern: presidential tweets claiming fake news, followed by excerpts and hot takes and indignation from all sides.

But for every bombshell title that monopolized talk-show chyrons, there were many quieter releases that truly deserved animated discussion – so many thought-provoking novels, shattering memoirs and astute histories that had nothing to do with presidential power struggles or Russian collusion.

Among the paper’s Top 10 Books of 2018 were two liberal barn-burners: Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger and Carol Anderson’s One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy.

The top 50 works of nonfiction included Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming, where “The former First Lady gets uncommonly candid with a memoir that includes her true feelings about Donald Trump and the pain that came with living under intense scrutiny.” To some of us, it seemed like she was living under intense… hagiography.

In every year, the Post engages in shamelessly promoting its own past and current writers in the top 50, and this year was no exception — including books by Steve Coll, Wil Haygood, Susan Jacoby, and Eli Saslow. Anti-Trump books like Woodward’s Fear and Max Boot’s The Corrosion of Conservatism were a cinch to make the list. Former Post reporter Michael Isikoff made the list (with David Corn) for Russian Roulette, and current Post reporter Greg Miller made it for The Apprentice: Trump, Russia, and the Subversion of American Democracy.

A few cable pundits also scored Top 50 honors: CNN analyst Tara Westover, as well as MSNBC contributors Michael Eric Dyson and Anand Giridharadas.

James Comey’s book also made the list, and it’s hard to imagine the “Democracy Dies in Darkness” drama queens were going to miss a chance to honor How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt.

At least the Post showed the decency to keep the trashy tales of Omarosa and Michael Wolff out of their Top 50.

Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters. He is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.

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