The Bonus Book of the Week is “Life’s A Campaign, What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success” by Chris Matthews, published in 2007. This quick, lighthearted read gave a few tips, through a series of specific examples– some autobiographical– on how to develop, manage and maintain political relationships. Incidentally, thirteen years after the book’s writing, the author– a journalist and TV-show host– had become psychologically burnt out from the political shenanigans he covered.
The author advised the reader who attended a political event to always stand on the far right side in a group photo. That way, the reader’s name would appear first in the photo’s caption in the news article. He also briefly described the exploits of Theodore Roosevelt, Churchill and JFK, saying they were all war heroes before becoming politicians. However, he neglected to mention that each man had a crack public relations team that glorified their histories and papered over their past failures, to help them get elected. Read the book to learn more about the author’s and others’ political adventures.
“The sad truth we learn from all of this is that it’s one thing to call your critics ‘liars,’ but to regain the political edge you must prove they are.” The author was referring to John Kerry’s unsuccessful 2004 presidential bid, but such dishonesty is part and parcel of politics, egged on by the media. Both politicians and the media have gotten wily messaging and optics down to a science (but right now, NOT literally!).
As is well known, the media are currently whipping up a frenzy over– not a presidential campaign– but over a highly contagious, potentially fatal virus-pandemic that has variants. As is now the norm, the messengers and their bosses’ utterances have been characterized by lack of transparency. Obviously, they benefit vaccine makers, mask sellers, COVID drug peddlers etc.; most of those messengers and bosses are failing to disclose their financial interests in the profit-seeking aspects of the whole kit and caboodle. Ho hum.