Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

McClellan’s ‘tell all’: Was his use of research materials somehow wrong?

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I just read a somewhat bizarre article in The Washington Times regarding former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s “tell all” book about his years in the White House. I’m sure you’ve read about the book, perhaps read excerpts, and probably have seen McClellan being interviewed about it.

The chief criticism in that WT article could be summarized this way: We are angry about McClellan’s book disrespecting/criticizing Bush, but really he never says anything insightful or new and really doesn’t give any “inside” information supporting his criticisms — he’s simply drawing on his reading, research, and reflections following his White House career to voice public criticism of Bush.

Now, I find that argument against McClellan’s book interesting. In other words, they’re saying it really isn’t a “tell all” worthy of disappointment or criticism, because he says nothing new from his own information. He’s only doing a sort of public “mea culpa” about being duped, along with the President himself.

So what’s the real criticism? Isn’t it wrong to condemn McClellan ethically as some sort of White House insider “snitch” on the one hand, while on the other hand suggesting he really didn’t reveal anything personal or of an “insider” nature? I don’t get it. You’d think he was a scoundrel on par with something as outrageous as vegan shoes made of genuine leather.

Is McClellan a writer speaking out for the truth? Or his he a writer simply working to sell copies of a book he wrote to capitalize on his White House years? Or both? What do you think? Leave a comment and tell us.
[tags]McClellan’s tell-all, White House history, writing and honesty, roll of research, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]

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