Tags: Barack Obama | Leon Panetta | Worthy Fights | defense secretary | President Obama | social media

Report: Social Media Boosts Panetta's Book

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 07:39 PM

Leon Panetta's latest memoir, which appeared on bookshelves this week, may not be as critical of President Barack Obama as it has been made out to be. Thanks in part to social media, however, the book has already made headlines.

A New York Times piece examines the role social media plays in tell-all memoirs that often are published in a president's second term or after he leaves office. With the author making promotional appearances and the publisher releasing juicy passages to create a buzz, social media is now a major factor in generating book sales.

"I think if the president takes time to read it — and for that matter, [Vice President] Joe Biden — he is going to enjoy the book," Panetta said of "Worthy Fights," according to The Times.

Panetta, who served as CIA director (2009-2011) and secretary of defense (2011-2013) under Obama, criticizes Obama's response to the Benghazi attack and his decision to pull American ground troops out of Iraq and to not put boots on the ground in the latest fight with the Islamic State (ISIS). These points, according to the Times, have made their way around the Internet and on television — and have resulted in criticism of the Obama White House.

Biden said last week it was "inappropriate" for ex-administration officials to write books while the president was still occupying the Oval Office. Obama, on the other hand, would not criticize Panetta's decision to publish his book now.

"The president intentionally sought out strong, experienced cabinet members who would speak their minds," White House chief of staff Denis R. McDonough told The Times. "He understood that could make for a messy process and public rehash of arguments. That comes with the territory and makes for better policy. That’s why the president will continue to follow that approach. People have to make their own judgments on whether they want to write books on their experience."

Past presidents, including Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, have seen books written about them by former staff members too.

And this is not the first time Panetta has released a memoir critical of a president he worked for. In 1971, after a year-long stint as the Director of the Office for Civil Rights under President Richard Nixon, Panetta was critical of his former boss.

Conservative pundit Pat Buchanan, on the other hand, thinks Panetta should have waited until Obama was out of office before publishing his book.

"You ought to be honest in your memoirs … But at the same time, if you have been the confidante of the president, [and] he's put his trust in you and enabled you to sit and listen to his deepest thoughts and ruminations, I don't think you do that until the administration is over," Buchanan said. 


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Leon Panetta's latest memoir, which appeared on bookshelves this week, may not be as critical of President Barack Obama as it has been made out to be. Thanks in part to social media, however, the book has already made headlines.
Leon Panetta, Worthy Fights, defense secretary, President Obama, social media
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2014-39-08
Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 07:39 PM
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