This is the book the media don’t want you to read.
Half of all Americans do not trust the media, and many Americans believe the media are to blame for the country’s division. The U.S. ranks dead last of all countries in media trust.
This well-reviewed book tells you why and shows you the inside of the media machine. It includes a look behind the scenes at some of the biggest stories in the history of journalism. The author -- a former New York Times White House and investigative correspondent -- was there and is ruthlessly honest about what he saw.
In fact, the author unearthed Watergate before Woodward and Bernstein, but saw the story ignored by the New York Times Washington Bureau when he gave it to them.
Margaret Sullivan, media critic for the Washington Post, called the book a “very engaging read.”
The book explores the consequences of “advocacy” – – that is, biased – – journalism. That reporting enriches advocacy journalists, while taking a toll on the rest of us.
Coming to the present, Suppressed shows how some media, including the New York Times, stepped into the ring and began slugging it out with President Trump, instead of staying outside the ring and neutrally reporting what it saw. The book argues that the media would have been more effective if it had remained neutral -- and credible.
As for the Times, some six million people around the world subscribe to the paper. Of these, many are opinion-leaders. Journalists everywhere read the paper to get a supposedly objective view. But they aren’t getting that kind of view.
The book discloses that The Times assigned the author to hire a reporter of a particular partisan stripe; that the paper’s business journalists refused to cover negative stories about business, and that its Pentagon correspondent refused to cover the My Lai massacre committed by American troops in Vietnam.
The book offers entertaining tidbits -- some hard to believe -- but also shows you how to be a knowledgeable consumer of something that you spend time on every day and depend on.
Written with candor and humor, Suppressed traces a young investigative reporter’s arc from naïveté to cynicism, from covering the White House to leaving journalism for Yale Law School and ultimately becoming a barrister in London and teaching at Oxford.
Robert M. Smith is a former New York Times White House and investigative correspondent who was witness to some of the most important stories in modern history, including Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, and the My Lai Massacre. He lives in San Francisco, CA.
“Suppressed is a string of inviting reminiscences, each more tantalizing than the one before. Smith is a writer of clarity, wit, and style. He rips the masks off the Establishment, and reveals the inside story of a remarkable New York Times investigative reporter who bucked the system throughout a stellar career, and got away with it. The book defines honest reporting in a time of attacks from insiders and outsiders, right and left. If there was a truth that needed telling, Smith fought to tell the story — one way or another. He has done the same thing in this book. Suppressed: remarkable revelations and remarkable entertainment.”--Ron Hendren, former NBC News and TODAY show book and film critic
“Robert Smith broke countless stories as a New York Times reporter, but his account of the one story he had but couldn’t break — Watergate — is what makes Suppressed a must-read account of life inside the sausage factory of high-level American journalism.”--Ray Locker, author of Nixon's Gamble and Haig's Coup and former White House editor for USA TODAY
“Incisive behind-the-scenes details about the Times and other media outlets.”-Publishers Weekly
“A forthright indictment of the media’s shortcomings.”—Kirkus Reviews
NetGalley Review: 4 stars
Last updated on 12 May 2021
"Super interesting look into what makes it to the news cycle and what stays behind closed doors. In the instance of Watergate, there was so much behind the scenes that we never saw. This book really uncovers what goes on in the news industry."
—Caroline Craig David, Reviewer @southernbellebooks on Instagram
NetGalley Review: 5 stars
Last updated on 13 May 2021
"Suppressed: Confessions of a Former New York Times Washington Correspondent by former investigative reporter Robert M. Smith is a remarkable memoir that takes us behind the scenes of the highest levels of American journalism. It is an frank book that is informative yet entertaining at the same time. It gives us some of the journalistic highs but also brings to light the shortcomings. Smith fought the system throughout his career to tell the whole truth behind the stories he covered. This was not always possible and he claims that media outlets often manipulated the story to fit their own views. He saw this happen at Time magazine as well as the Boston Herald and the New York Times. A prime example occurred with the New York Times when he attempted to break the Watergate story and the paper ignored the story and depending on your perspective, they either failed or refused to cover it. There are some good lessons in this book and Smith cautions us not to take a news story at face value but rather consider who is doing the reporting and to look for bias and other outside forces that can influence the slant of a story. Ultimately Smith left journalism behind and is now practicing law and teaching at Oxford. Thankfully he did not give up writing altogether and this book is the result. I highly recommend it. Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my review. This review is being posted immediately to my GoodReads account and will be posted on Amazon and Barnes and Noble upon the book's publication."
—Donna Boyd, Educator
As Smith sees it, the Times has gone backwards to the 1970s when it was a mixture of news and opinion, a paper that he fled for that very reason....the only answer for the Times was to stay impartial but it continued to get into the ring."-The Daily Mail
"Editorials and letters to the editor in recent weeks have zeroed in on the craft of journalism. About time. How American journalism works (or doesn’t) is an important subject. I’ve long thought that we who ply the trade have done a remarkably poor job of helping our readers understand how we do what we do. And why….I’ve just read a fascinating work that bears on the question: a book titled “Suppressed: Confessions of a Former New York Times Washington Correspondent.” -The Herald-Dispatch