Jossip | July 8, 2008

You might think cable news networks, morning gab shows, and Comedy Central’s unique offering of satire soapboxes might be interested in the new book from Vincent Bugliosi, the Los Angeles county prosecutor who put Charles Manson behind bars, who’s now promoting The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, which has sold a quite remarkable 130,000 copies.
You would be wrong.

Bugliosi and his publicity team can’t get him booked on Today or Good Morning America, let alone Countdown or The Colbert Report. Book review publications, so far including the New York Times (it’s “under consideration”), won’t write up his manuscript. Don Imus won’t even accept his advertising. Don Imus! (Bugliosi has, however, conducted some 100 radio interviews.)

Perhaps it has to do with the book’s central premise: That President Bush could, and should, be held criminally accountable for the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq. And while Newsweek editor Jon Meacham says “Bush bashing fatigue” may be to blame, there are a few other plausible scenarios.

1) The media might be done with taking the Bush administration’s talking points as fact, as Jessica Yellin inadvertently exposed, but accusing the president of murder might be taking things a step too far. You’re entering “crimes against humanity” territory, and wouldn’t it be easier to make those claims when he leaves office? (Though isn’t that why Keith Olbermann has a television show?) Plausibility Odds: 1:1000

2) Prosecution, which was released in May, was published by Vanguard Press, a division of the Perseus Books Group — which also operates PublicAffairs Books, which put out Scott McClellan’s What Happened. The cable news talkers went ape shit over that book, with the right-y shows calling McClellan a traitor and the left-y shows cautiously claiming him for their side. Might the media outlets that championed McClellan have faced harsher retribution from the White House than they expected? And made them fearful to repeat their overzealous attacks? Odds: 1:100


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