Award-winning White House correspondent and presidential historian
Kenneth T. Walsh’s latest book:
White House Photographers and
How They Shape History
About the presidents
the photographers got to know so well
along with other key figures close to those presidents.
NOW AVAILABLE IN HARDBACK
Published by Random House in 1996, updated in 2002
Publisher: Xlibris Corp - May 2002
by Kenneth T. Walsh
Avoiding single-minded laments on the shortcomings of the presidency or the failings of the press, Feeding the Beast is an evenhanded though often damning critique of the relationship between the White House and the news media, a relationship that can create more problems that it solves. For an informed electorate and an enlightened citizenry, few institutions are more important than the presidency and the mainstream media, and here Kenneth T. Walsh, a senior White House correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, candidly reports how ordinary citizens are the biggest losers in the current state of affairs. The widespread practice of "spin doctoring," the willingness on the part of the White House to mislead the press, overly interpretive reporting, and "gotcha" journalism do more to distort reality than illuminate it.
Walsh chronicles a passing parade of fascinating characters that have shaped our times and influenced our lives, while at the same time pulling back the curtain and laying bare many commonly held illusions. The connection between the White House and the press corps works well when the people involved interact well, and in shedding light on some of those relationships, Walsh relates his afternoon of pitching horseshoes with George Bush; Dan Quayle's previously undisclosed MTV gambit; and what it's like to interview Bill and Hillary Clinton; and he explains in fresh detail the ways Ronald Reagan was able to choreograph his presidency.
Starting with George Washington, Walsh shows how Presidents and presidential candidates have repeated the same mistakes in dealing with the press from the beginning of the Republic. As the national media have grown over time into a voracious beast demanding to be fed, they have lost sight of their fundamental mission of presenting the world in a straightforward and comprehensible way to viewers, listeners, and readers. Too often, Walsh asserts, the press suffers from four basic flaws: injecting too much attitude into stories, assuming an overly negative approach to all news, rushing to judgment, and ignoring the values of Middle America. Walsh is able not only to point out the chronic problems, but also to examine how this crucial nexus for an involved electorate has become so contaminated that ordinary citizens no longer trust either the media or their elected officials.
FEEDING THE BEAST
Published by Xlibris
Business Week - Douglas A. Harbrecht
"Walsh knows the hand that feeds the press and offers wise insight into the strange relationship between Presidents and the press. If you watch or read the news, Feeding the Beast explains it all."
press secretary to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush
Despite the title and the book's gloss of press criticism, this is mostly a competent, conventional memoir of the past decade on the White House beat. U.S. News & World Report White House correspondent Walsh declares that the White House and the news media no longer trust each other, thus shortchanging the American public. He cites both manipulative politicos and the rise of journalists' cynicism and television's focus on personality. His anecdotal history of the Reagan, Bush and Clinton years is readable but strains for judgment: Did the run-up to the Gulf War really show the media on two sides, jingoists and antimilitarists? Was the press really unfair to Dan Quayle? Walsh's observations that the White House media focus too much on conflict, are tyrannized by the fast-running news cycle and are isolated from middle America have been made more eloquently in James Fallows's recent Breaking the News. Walsh's prescription, that reporters avoid editorializing or analysis, and that they get outside the Beltway, are only partial solutions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
For 10 years, Kenneth T. Walsh worked the most glamorous beat in American journalism. The White House correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, he was a firsthand participant in the daily struggle for status and recognition waged by both the White House staff and the reporters themselves. It can be an odd task for journalists, who, having risen to the pinnacle of a very competitive profession, find themselves more or less at the mercy of arrogant--and often very young--staffers who serve as buffers between the press and executive branch of government.
Feeding the Beast: The White House Versus the Press
by Kenneth T. Walsh
BYLINE- Jack Kisling
The appetite of the beast is bottomless
August 18, 1996
BYLINE - Philip Seib
White House nature tales;
Politicos love the press, and cobras love mongooses, too
July 21, 1996
BYLINE - THOMAS W. HOWARD
D.C. PRESS GETS RAKED OVER COALS
BYLINE - A.B. Stoddard
REFLECTIONS FROM A WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT
June 19, 1996
BYLINE - Larry Bensky
LOS ANGELES TIMES
INSIDE THE BELLY OF THE BEAST
July 21, 1996
BYLINE - David Brooks
June 16, 1996
BYLINE - JEFFREY STINSON
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
PRESIDENT AND PRESS MISMANAGEMENT Clinton
failed to feed media beast
June 2, 1996
BYLINE - DANA PARSONS
INSIDER'S VIEW ON WHY FEWER ARE PULLING FOR THE PRESS
May 19, 1996
"Walsh has some pointed suggestions for his colleagues,
and a lot of them won't like what he has to say.
But that's the Dr. K I remember from the old days:
a guy who played hard and, most of all,
took this business of journalism to heart."