Who is responsible for the glut of books criticizing President George W. Bush?
Roger Ailes provides the answer in today's (Oct. 8) Wall Street Journal. Ailes, who is chairman and CEO of Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel and the soon-to-launch Fox Business Network, is asked his opinion of Alan Greenspan's recent criticisms of President Bush. (The Bush criticisms to which the Journal refers appeared in Greenspan's book The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World.)
You can't sell a book in America if you don't dump on Bush. That's the cheapest shot in the world. You cannot get an advance, and you can't sell a book because the publishers are all people who hate Bush and hate Republicans.
If Ailes is right about the publishers being Bush- and Republican-haters—and I'm not saying he isn't—then what do the anti-Bush books published by HarperCollins, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., say about Rupe? Is Murdoch among the haters? As everybody knows, Murdoch is the consummate micromanager. Nothing happens in his company that he doesn't know about.
Consider the 2004 HarperCollins title Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President, which the HarperCollins catalog describes in these strong words:
At once a compelling portrait of George W. Bush and a damning indictment of his policies, Bush on the Couch sheds startling new light on an administration whose record of violence and cruelty seems increasingly dependent on the unstable psyche of the man at its center.
Or what about The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time from 2006, published by the HarperCollins imprint William Morrow? The catalog calls it "the first book to expose the Bush Administration's radical economic agenda for global domination, a plan more extreme, unilateral and audacious than any of his predecessors, a plan that has created the greatest level of violent opposition to America and Americans in recent history." The Bush "takeover" of the world economy is designed to benefit "such corporations as Bechtel, Lockheed Martin, ChevronTexaco, Halliburton, and many others."
Nobody hates Bush more than Andrew Sullivan, whose book, The Conservative Soul, was published by HarperCollins in 2006, and which is scheduled for release as a paperback by the publisher tomorrow. In his New York Times review of the book, David Brooks writes:
[D]uring 2004 Sullivan grew disenchanted with the Bush administration. He had always been inflamed by the Republican Party's opposition to gay marriage (like most bloggers, Sullivan gets inflamed on a daily basis), but now his criticism spread to other issues.
Sullivan grew incensed by the rise in federal spending, the incompetence displayed after Katrina, the conduct of the postwar occupation in Iraq and, most of all, the Bush administration's stand on interrogations. He ended up endorsing John Kerry and now he is contemptuous of almost all things Bush.
Murdoch's Republican-haters at HarperCollins don't stop at George W. Bush. Last summer the firm published an assault on Republican Rudy Giuliani. The catalog entry for Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 reads:
Turning the mythology on its head, Grand Illusion reveals how Giuliani has revised his own history, casting himself as prescient terror hawk when in fact he ran his administration as if terrorist threats simply did not exist, too distracted by pet projects and turf wars to attend to vital precautions.
Given the behavior of Murdoch's book companies, Ailes would have to concede at the very least that his boss subsidizes hatred of Bush and Republicans. At least we know Murdoch loves Jesus, otherwise he wouldn't have purchased Zondervan, the Christian publishing house, in 1988. Or could it be that Murdoch is a closet Satanist in addition to being a closet liberal? I call Ailes' attention to The Satanic Bibleby Church of Satan founder Anton Szandor LaVey, which is published by Avon, a HarperCollins paperback imprint.
Has Murdoch succeeded in business because he made a pact with the devil—or because he is the devil? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. (E-mail may be quoted by name in "The Fray," Slate's readers' forum, in a future article, or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)