The Week Politics Went Tabloid
The former chief political correspondent for The New York Times Magazine brilliantly revisits the Gary Hart affair and looks at how it changed forever the intersection of American media and politics.
In May 1987, Colorado Senator Gary Hart—a dashing, reform-minded Democrat—seemed a lock for the party’s presidential nomination and led George H. W. Bush by double digits in the polls. Then, in one tumultuous week, rumors of marital infidelity and a newspaper’s stakeout of Hart’s home resulted in a media frenzy the likes of which had never been seen before. Through the magnificently reported story of the Senator’s fall from grace, Matt Bai, former chief political correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, shows the Hart affair to be far more than one man’s tragedy: rather, it marked a crucial turning point in the ethos of political media—and, by extension, of politics itself. At a moment when the definitions of “breaking news” and “newsworthiness” were being rewritten by new technologies and a changing culture, Hart fell first victim to the new norms of life in the public eye. All The Truth Is Out is a tour de force on the American way of politics at the highest level, one that changes our understanding of how we elect our presidents and how the bedrock of American values has shifted under our feet.