Off with Their Heads by Dick Morris

Ordinarily, I would never comment or rank a book that I didn’t finish, but this one bugged me enough to make an exception. “Off with Their Heads” is well ranked on, but a closer look shows that people either love it or hate it. I hated it – or at least I hated the first chapter. Dick Morris’ book is supposedly what happened to our sense of unity and determination after 9/11. He blames a number of organizations and people for “sidetracking” us and devotes a section to each of them. The first section was about the New York Times. Morris claims that the NYT’s is now extremely liberal and that they slant their poll numbers (that was interesting) and pick their stories to align with their beliefs. While I personally believe every newspaper picks stories that align with their beliefs, and I have no problem with it, I just like to know about it, so I was looking forward to hearing his NYT story. However, other than the issue of the poll numbers, all I heard was rants. Morris was very upset that any front page space was given to the civil rights of prisoners, the number of dead in Iraq, etc.
If the New York Times slanted their polls or weighted them inappropriately, then that’s wrong. If they gave titles to news stories that weighted the news towards one side or another of the story, then I agree they are biased but not necessarily wrong.
If the New York Times decides that the civil liberties issue as manifested by the lack of prisoner rights granted to prisoners in Guantanomo Bay is a front page issue, then I think they have the right to put the story on the front page. I think it is front page news. I don’t think it should be withheld because it might detract from our support of the Iraq War. I think it’s atrocious that we don’t give our prisoners captured during time of war (not those captured on the battlefield, but those captured in civilian places, like the Chicago airport) the same democratic process and “innocent until proven guilty” as every other citizen. We need to practice what we believe in. That is a separate, although not unrelated, issue than whether or not we should support a war in Iraq.

3 Replies to “Off with Their Heads by Dick Morris”

  1. Your views are right on the target, but relatively mellow. I was in the library several days after I first read your review of this book. I sought out their copy and, even though I was short on time, I took five minutes to scan it. That was enough for me.
    Most people who suffer from diarrhea cope with their problem quietly and its manifestations privately. This author seems to have taken his symptoms, not to a doctor, but to his publisher. Rather than telling him to go stuff a cork in it, they wrap his output in a cover and slap a price tag on it.
    There are many people who can present the view from that part of the political or social spectrum, and present it well. Equally so, there are good, lucid spokesmen for most other views. It takes time to study what they each have to say in an effort to establish an informed opinion. Time spent reading this author’s rants is taken at the expense of worthwhile reading. I probably ought to resent that, but I have already given this book more time than it deserves.

  2. I definitely heard that you didn’t like the book! 🙂
    The problem is how to explain the 3.5 average rating by 51 people on, especially since there are quite a few, like me, who gave it 1 star ratings. Not to mention the five reviewers in that gave it 5 star ratings.
    While this guy might be ranting, it seems like there are a few people out there that completely agree with his rantings. My guess though is that those people aren’t reading my blog. 🙂

  3. Yes, there is a wide variety of people and what will disgust some of us is going to really appeal to others. You might also apply a little bit of that idea to your post on fat and the “ideal” woman’s body. But that’s a side track.
    I guess this wide diversity is better than complete uniformity, but I sometimes wonder where good judgment and taste have gone. Also, I think that people are more likely to post a review if they strongly agree with a position. If they are ambivalent or opposed they will not give it their time. Just my suggestion.
    As for your stealth blog, you might work a deal with the NYT to have them post it. That will get you some prominence. 🙂

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