Author News and Book Reports

Helen Thomas and Myra MacPherson wonder if the watchdogs of democracy will ever bark again
Known for her fearless questioning of presidential power from President John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, White House Press Corps reporter-turned-columnist Helen Thomas introduced her latest book, Watchdogs of Democracy?: The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public (Scribner; June, 20, 2006) at the Miami Book Fair International 2006. Thomas began her brief remarks with a recitation of the failings of the Bush Administration and how the media turned from watchdog to lapdog in the process. She closed with a couple of humorous anecdotes from her sixty years in journalism to lighten the mood and reminded the audience that diplomacy, not the barrel of a gun, is the engine of peace. Former Washington Post reporter Myra MacPherson followd Thomas with an introduction to her new biography, All Governments Lie: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I. F. Stone (Scribner; August 29, 2006). After describing the powerful FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's (1895-1972) efforts to hound and discredit the iconoclastic journalist and self-proclaimed communist I.F. ('Izzy') Stone (1907-1989), MacPherson illustrated the rebel nature of Stone with several anecdotes of how he uncovered some of the major news stories of the day, including most notably President Lyndon Johnson's fraudulent Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which ultimately drove Johnson from the White House. MacPherson rounded out her presentation with an anecdote about Stone'sstudy of ancient Greek language and Socrates illustrating Stone's arrogance. Helen Thomas then took a question from the audience on what she would most like to ask George W. Bush. Thomas and MacPherson then held a 25-minute question and answer period with the audience in which they discussed maintaining objectivity in journalism; the question of presidential honesty going back to John and Robert Kennedy compared to today; the issue of media fact-checking and political lies; the issue of truth vs. fairness in media; the role of the media in a democracy; the issue of White House press secretaries in manipulating truth; the question of who sets editorial agendas in the newsrooms of America; and the irony of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show as an alternative source of the day's news.

Book and Author Headlines

Bob Woodward offers interviews with Ford and Bush as cautionary tales on telling the 'truth': In an interview with Richard Norton Smith, Bob Woodward talks about journalism in America, interviewing Presidents Ford, Nixon, and Bush and the difficulties of keeping them honest

Sara Nelson, Jennifer Baumgardner, Katha Pollitt, and Eyal Press re-focus abortion issue for 2007: 'Publishers Weekly' editor-in-chief Sara Nelson heads panel of pro-choice activists/authors in discussion of Roe v. Wade in the context of the post-election 2006 power shift in Washington.

Donald Hall assumes lofty role of U.S. Poet Laureate at National Book Festival: Donald Hall is publicly introduced as the new U.S. Poet Laureate at the National Book Festival and reads at a symposium on 'Love and Death' at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center where his wife, the poet Jane Kenyon, had been cared for in her last days.

Brad Meltzer 'spies' on President's White House bedroom: Brad Meltzer shares stories of fame in Bulgaria, researching Presidents in Texas and Harlem, and peaking into the Presdident's White House bedroom.

Khaled Hosseini's 'Kite' still flying high at 2006 National Book Festival: Khaled Hosseini describes his idyllic childhood and inspirational friendships in Afghanistan, takes questions from the audience at National Book Festival 2006.

Isabel Allende stirs passions in Miami: Isabel Allende brings her mix of romanticism, humor and sometimes magic, oftentimes hard-boiled realism to the 23rd Miami Book Fair International.

Richard Ford gives thanks to Faulkner, imagination, reading and writing: Richard Ford makes first BookExpo appearance in 17 years one to remember. Next appearance, he says, 'will have to be a posthumous one.'

Over 300 bestselling authors pack their bags for Miami Book Fair International Nov 12-19: Frank McCourt, Thomas Cahill, Edward P. Jones, Ariana Huffington, Isabelle Allende, Richard Ford, Barak Obama, Brad Meltzer, Helen Thomas, Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Nora Ephron, Garry Wills, Randi Rhodes to name just a few...

Barack Obama offers 'The Audacity of Hope' and reasons to believe: Barack Obama launched a 20-city book tour for his new book, 'The Audacity of Hope,' before an enthusiastic audience of booksellers at BookExpo America back in June, 2006. Three months later, the book tour has catapulted Obama to the forefront of American politics and a possible run for the White House in 2008.

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