Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Book Review On 'The Book of Matt' @ PJMedia


HAVEN'T WRITTEN MUCH FOR PJMEDIA LATELY with weddings, grandchildren and more travel coming into this chapter of my life.  Still, when I recently read Stephen Jimenez's amazing, myth-busting  new book---The Book of Matt,  released this fall,  I decided it was time to send a query to Aaron Hanscomb, managing editor @ PJMedia.  He graciously accepted my idea----including the ordeal of my spelling indiscretions---and here is the finished piece. Thanks,  Aaron. It's always a privilege to write for you and Founder/Writer Emeritus Roger L. Simon.  In addition,  thanks always go to Gerard Vanderleun  @ American Digest for giving me my first chance to write for PJMedia years ago.  What a lucky girl I am!

Remember the horrific hate crime committed against Matthew Shephard in Laramie,  Wyoming 15 years ago?   You may be shocked at the real story in this new book and how wrong the MSM got it from the start.  Another glaring example of fast-fiction in the days of sloppy, politically correct journalism---or what passes for journalism. Law enforcement got it mostly wrong too and made far too many mistakes, including suppressing many salient  facts---chronicled by Jimenez.  Among many other things,  this book shows that jumping to conclusions usually produces untruth upon untruth that then gets crystallized---pun intended---into meth....er, I mean myth.

The real story is in Jimenez's book which I highly, highly recommend.  Take a look at my review  and see what you think. Then give thanks that there are still journalists and critical thinkers in America like Mr.  Jimenez, a gay writer who took 12 years to research, write and publish this stunning, meticulous book. Thanks Stephen for truly raising the bar of real journalism in America in the age of fast news fiction, and politically correct news morsels.  It is a privilege to give Mr. Jimenez a review worthy of the long, persistent work he did on writing The Book of Matt.

But don't stop here.  Get the book for the full blown-away reading experience with shocking surprises too numerous to mention.


Tregonsee said...

Well said. As a sixty-something, I am frequently shocked at the misrepresentations of history I hear, and even more so by the complete lack of someone correcting it. My favorite is "Mission Accomplished." Whenever I hear someone use the term, I put on a puzzled look, and ask for an explanation. It is invariably wrong. I then pull out a $100 and ask, "Wanna bet?" The results are inevitably a "learning experience." Almost inevitably, it does not take.

Webutante said...

Good one! Thanks, Treg.

Aaron C said...

Jane, thank you for writing about this book.

You say this book "raises the bar on real journalism." I would honestly be interested in what you thought of this quote from the introduction to the book: "Though this is a work of nonfiction journalism, I have occasionally employed methods that are slightly less stringent in order to re-create the dialogue of characters -- words I did not personally hear; nor could the characters themselves recall every word exactly from memory."

In case other readers think I am some evil troller who made that up and you don't have a copy of the book yourself to check, you can read the introduction to the book on the publishers website at http://bit.ly/19eSTtr (page viii).

Webutante said...

Yes, Aaron, I saw your question previously. I will answer it briefly here. It will be my first, last and only answer.

It appears that you have read this quote from the introduction but not have read the book. If that is the case, then I suggest you read the book and decide its veracity for yourself. Some people will not want the book to be true and so will not be convinced no matter what. And that's your perogative.

So here's my answer:

Mr. Jimenez's disclaimer is often used---stated or unstated---in reporting and writing such as his book. I personally think he went overboard in his honesty. It doesn't bother me in the least because he got the essence of what was said or reported or testified to.

I will give you a brief example from my newspaper reporting days with a big morning daily, I did the same thing and didn't state the disclaimer:

Years ago, I was sent to do an in-depth interview with Dr. Tommy Frist, Jr. CEO of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) for the cover story of the Sunday business section. Frist had alotted me 2 hours of his time. I took a pad with lots of questions, a pen and a little tape recorder which I turned on after we had made pleasantries.

Several hours later, I went back to the city room of the paper and found out, much to my horror, that I had not operated the recorder correctly and none of the two-hour interview had been taped. I talked to my editors about it and they told me to take my questions and answer them as I had heard them. Then to write it down. Because I listened to everything Frist had said---and when I hadn't understood his meaning I'd stopped him and asked for clarification---before going on.

So I put a huge interview together from the essence of what I'd heard and understood him say to every question. Then it went to print for the Sunday paper---without any disclaimer. I was not sued for perjury, then or ever.

Again, nothing was an exact quote, but because I understood his exact meaning, he loved the interview and I got good reviews from the public.

So no, your concern from the introduction doesn't bother me at all. Not at all. Reading
the book---with its myriad sources, resources, testimonies and interviews over 12 years of iinvestigation is so compelliing that it's hard to imagine someone coming away from 'The Book of Matt' and not giving it high credibility. But again, if you don't want to believe it or read the book, then that's certainly your right.

Best wishes.