Eye of the Storm

Friday, May 30, 2008

The biggest story about former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's new book What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception might be the book itself -- or, rather, the tempest of controversy it's created in the media and the White House. Peter Osnos. the founder and editor-at-large of McClellan's publisher Perseus Books, tells us about how the book was leaked to the press and how the firestorm took shape.


Peter Osnos

Comments [26]

mc from Brooklyn

Keith Olbermann has alienated half his viewers.

May. 30 2008 06:09 PM

Sadly, there appears to be no end to the bush fantasy storyline. The only fantasy is on our part - that there will be an end to the bush line. We're going to be shoveling ourselves out of the mess this administration has gotten us into - economic, foreign policy, military - for decades.
I'm sorry, Jesse, but the other fantasy is your insistence that Bush's only mistake was hiring McLellan. Ask anyone in our overstretched military what they think of Bush and his 29% approval rating. Wake up, sir, and smell the coffee.

May. 30 2008 03:51 PM
hjs from 11211

history is written by the victors

so time will tell. is this the end of the bush fantasy storyline.

May. 30 2008 02:50 PM

it's not history crhis o, much as scott mc and others would like it to be. not yet -- it's what mclellan should have said instead of "no comment at this time" .

May. 30 2008 02:36 PM
hjs from 11211

why should he quit. where's the out cry for bush to leave. will bush have talking tours?

May. 30 2008 01:24 PM
D Torres from Manhattan

Thousands of US Soldiers killed in action,
or badly injured, because of this ill advised
invasion of Iraq, now Scott is sorry.

Sorry that he lied to the American people.

This smells.

If Scott, had a pair, he would have quit.

May. 30 2008 12:49 PM
Jesse Califano from Tampa, FL

I must say, that I am quite tickled that WNYC and most of their listeners take Mr. McClellan's 'Book' seriously as thought it some magical moment in American politics!

How serious a book is this? Just take a look at the publisher!!

...can't wait for the comic book version- printed on re-cycled paper of course, so that it actually NOT even worth the paper its printed on!

Oh Joy!!

May. 30 2008 12:18 PM
Steve from Manhattan

@dave - good point. But he's #1 on Amazon I think, so he certainly won't need to ...

May. 30 2008 11:18 AM
Mike from Pawling

I propose a change to the title of McClellan's new book to, "Bless Me Father For I have Sinned". Scott has discovered the new American Media Confessional. For his pennance, he has said two "Our Father Interviews on the Today Show, Keith Operman and three Hail Mary Reviews, Recounts and Re-edits of his moral/ethical/personal failings. While we're all are interested in his confession, we all know his sin. Scott was an 'Instrument of War' and he now feels guilty. Those of us who remembered the Vietnam War, recognized the BUSH/CHENNY WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION as another GULF OF TONKIN. However 90% of Americans still hve no idea of what the Gulf of Tonkin had to do with the Vietnam War. Was Scott old enough to remember this? Does he know that Johnson lied? Did he know that Bush/Chenny lied? There was no winning in Vietnam, there is no winning in Iraq. We now we have to consider electing, McCain, who states, "I WILL NEVER SURRENDER IN IRAQ!" What does this tell us about McCain the president? Thanks for the book Scott, "Your sins are forgiven, go out and sin no more!"

May. 30 2008 11:16 AM
hjs from 11211

Jesse Califano 7

true bush is a bad judge of character

May. 30 2008 11:16 AM
johnjohn from New York

Why are we responding to the nutty commentary of right-wing media? Imagine the gall of these rank imbeciles. When truth confronts them, all they can respond is with a strange blame game of money making. Hey are they calling capitalism evil and sinful?
Hypocrisy has been the underpinning of right-wing ideology for a long time. They use left-wing as a pejorative while having no guts to debate real issues with people.
Repeat after me 'Right-wing nuts, Right-wing nuts are they.
Thanks God for Keith Oberman.

May. 30 2008 10:55 AM
dave from Jersey Shore

of course McClellen didn't write the book to make $$ off the book per se, he wrote the book to set himself up to garner lucrative speaking fees traveling in style to college campuses, conferences, political groups:

Just because the administration's apologists are the ones to bring this up doesn't mean its not true. Why did Lehrer just let that editor totally deflect this with the "were just a poor publishing house" BS without bringing that up?

Tempting as it may be to just revel in the chance to help this guy kick his loathsome former colleagues under the bus, Lehrer just letting that editor totally deflect this with the "were just a poor publishing house" BS without bringing up McLellan's motivations is totally sloppy journalism.

May. 30 2008 10:54 AM
Steve from Manhattan

@BORED - I posted that because, as I have asked multiple times, when is some interviewer going to ask the Tom Friedmans, Scott McClellands, John Boltons (who just published his book) if it might be a good idea to send some of the money they've earned writing about Iraq to the families of the soldiers and innocent Iraqis they helped kill. Someone wittier than I described Paul Wolfowitz as having to step over the bodies on his way to the bank.

Brian - how about exploring this topic with McClellan or Bolton when they show up.

May. 30 2008 10:47 AM
Prof. C J Reiss from China

In the US everyone acts like the left and the right are so polarized when n Europe everyone knows the differences between the left and the right are minor and in general even the "left" are conservative compared to the European viewpoint. Just because Scott tells a few things about his experiences doesn't mean he is all of a sudden left wing. Let's face it, even the democrats plan to continue an American foreign policy that is conservative compared to Europe, with more or less soldiers (i.e., in this case less) than the republicans. Don't get me wrong, I am not arguing for a Euro-centric approach but just because polar arguments are good for talk shows doesn't mean everyone is that far apart even if they only want their side to win.

May. 30 2008 10:46 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

I thought McClellan was a lying worm when he was in the White House. It's easy to change that view now that he's saying what I want to be true, but why is he not a lying worm now?

May. 30 2008 10:45 AM
antonio from park slope

How can this book be number #1 on amazon, or why?

Wouldn't a book that illustrates how pnac brainwashed everyone the idea of wmd's/regime change and revealed that this was all just a transfer of wealth from the american tax payers to the corporate america (blackwater, Kellogg Brown and Root)

The idea that this book is saying something is beyond insipid...

May. 30 2008 10:44 AM
Chris O from New York City

I like how the Bush people say: "This is not the Scott I know." He was not supposed to tell, he was not supposed to do anything disloyal. Of course, the problem is not that he is saying something untrue, just that he is saying it.

May. 30 2008 10:42 AM
John from New York

I think the debate we need to be having is not why or how McClellan the book, but whether or not he makes valid points in it.

May. 30 2008 10:41 AM
Robert from NYC

Anything that is not in line with FOX and the "strict" right is accused of being left-wing and socialist and communist and red and the like. So you can be on the right but not the "right" right for them. Don't flatter yourself into thinking that the one side accuses you of being on the other side of their side. Capisci?

May. 30 2008 10:40 AM
Jesse Califano from Tampa, FL

This guy was ONLY the Press Secretary-
What a jerk- this story will have 'legs' for about a week or so- and then Mr. McClellen will fade back into historic obscurity whence he came.

If one must fault President Bush for SOMETHING in this regard; it is the fact that he hired this schmuck in the first place; and kept him on for THREE YEARS(!) in the second place... and this out of some misplace sense of 'loyalty' to someone back in Texas.

Sure makes a good case for future administrations to hire a top-notch executive search firm like Russell Reynolds Worldwide (so exclusive, they're not even list in the Yellow Pages!) to 100% vet employees (read: 'the help'-).

Mr. McClellan won't even be able to get a job flipping hamburgers atMcDonalds- even if he uses his left hand- and flip those hamburgers from right to left- landing with a greasy 'plop' ! In short- people and the media will be beating a path from his door- but they had better move fast... before his door and the house it's attached to is foreclosed upon. Final analysis: just a poor slob jerk, who allowed himself to be uses by the publishing media for a couple of scheckles...

May. 30 2008 10:39 AM

BRAVO STEVE!!!!!!!!!!

May. 30 2008 10:35 AM
hjs from 11211

McClellan is a hero. more chickens coming home

May. 30 2008 10:34 AM
Steve from Manhattan

[[BL Moderator Writes: This Comment Edited for violating parts of the WNYC posting policy. Please stay civil and on-topic. Thanks.]]


You would think that advocating indiscriminate killing of people in some Middle Eastern country - any country will do! - just "because we could" would be the kind of thing which would cause people to respond with disgust and revlusion, and perhaps revoke your NYT columnist card. But, as we've learned so many times over the years, there's really nothing you can say or write about the awesomeness of killing Arabs for random reasons which will stop your cocktail party invitations from coming. Friedman, I suppose, was at least not quite as narcissistic as Richard Cohen, who thought killing people in Iraq was a good idea because it would be "therapeutic" for our country. Dead innocent people so Cohen could save a bit on his shrink bill.

But the problem with Tom Friedman is that he's very serious and taken very seriously. Unlike Maureen Dowd whose gibberish has lost its influence over the years, Tommy "Suck On This" Friedman is still The Most Serious Foreign Affairs Man In America. When Tom Friedman speaks, people listen, even as his metaphors become as bad as his advice.

May. 30 2008 10:32 AM
Chris O from New York City

It is called history, and current events. Books like this are helpful to historians in piecing the puzzle together. Not that anyone buys it hook, line and sinker but it is one source to consider and use.

May. 30 2008 10:08 AM

Been wondering -- what's the point of the book? & why would someone buy/read it?

May. 30 2008 10:03 AM
darius from brooklyn

We all know that the mainstream media failed us so I thought the bigger admission/revelation was Bush's approval to leak Valerie Plame's name to the press. Outing an agent (working on nuclear non-proliferation no less) for political reason is a high crime in the country (or almost any), so for the President to out her on these grounds has been amazingly glazed over.

May. 30 2008 10:01 AM

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