Sunday, August 05, 2007

Better Know a Book: It's Not About the Truth

Any time that Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter are hailed as voices of reason, it's a pretty good bet that the author is approaching his work with an agenda - one that doesn't teeter anywhere near the proverbial center of the aisle.
"It's Not About the Truth" takes its title from what DudeSpin Hall of Shame Hopeful Joe Alleva purportedly to Mike Pressler when he asked for Pressler's resignation. And that's what's shameful about the book - Pressler was absolutely a victim of a rush to judgment here and unfairly treated by the administration - but Yeager's commentary was so disjointed that it ultimately misses the real story here. Indeed, the best piece of writing in the entire book was the unedited letter at the end of the book from Janet Pressler - Mike's daughter - to Duke President Richard Brodhead. The piece was well-written, heartfelt, focused, and utterly convincing - in short, everything that the rest of the book wasn't.
Instead, Yaeger's prose was so filled, page after page, with hate mongering directed at Alleva, Brodhead, the Group of 88, Duke's student body, Nifong, the liberal media that it, unbelievably, resorts to quoting liberally from O'Reilly and Coulter (note irony in combining "liberal" and those two clowns in the same sentence) in support of Yaeger's contentions. Yaeger's diatribes, many of which were unfair and lacking in substance, made villains out of many reasonable people, not the least whom were the professors who published a Chronicle ad aiming to start a dialogue about strained race-class relations on campus. Very reasonable people, like Professor Cathy Davidson, were painted as despicable radicals who would stop at nothing to throw their students under the bus. It is a charge lacking in substance, authenticity, and utterly detached from reality.
The Presslers were wronged - unfortunately, they picked just about the absolutely worst author to tell that to the world.

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