Tuesday, March 11, 2014

RIP Joe McGinniss, Dec. 9, 1942 - March 10, 2014 Author, "The Selling of the President 1968"

Reporter and author Joe McGinniss passed away yesterday of prostate cancer. He was 71. 

McGinniss was the author of the groundbreaking book, “The Selling of the President 1968” which chronicled the reinvention of Richard M. Nixon and the first time a presidential candidate was packaged and sold to American voters like toothpaste.

I witnessed this process as a journalism student working as a secretary in Communications at the Republican National Committee during the 1968 presidential campaign.

One of the key players McGinniss credits with making Nixon more charismatic to the American people was Roger Ailes who served as a television consultant to the former president before going on to become president of the Fox News Channel, and chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group. (Ailes once wrote in a memo to Nixon titled "A Plan for Putting the GOP on TV News": "Today television news is watched more often than people read newspapers, than people listen to the radio, than people read or gather any form of communication. The reason: People are lazy. With television you just sit -- watch -- listen. The thinking is done for you.") 

McGinniss later wrote Fatal Vision: The Last Word on Jeffery MacDonald, Blind Faith, Cruel Doubt and several other best-selling books.

This morning The Washington Post has an excellent story on McGinniss's life and career.