The Importance of “Actual Malice”
More than one observer of American life has lamented the dark and depressing tone of the 2016 presidential election, believing we have sunk to a previously unknown low.
Regardless of political inclinations, no one feels good about the tone of either campaign of the two major party candidates or the absence of substance in online and mainstream media coverage.
This did not happen overnight. And, it did not happen because of any single institutional failure. On the contrary, it is a manifestation of a cultural and social unraveling that plays out every day in insidious ways and undermines our quality of life and threatens our economic and political security.
At the core of this unraveling is an institutionally incestuous media, as well as political and justice systems that long ago abandoned core principles necessary for the pursuit of truth, including relevance, context, and decency.
Actual Malice is a stunning new book published Tuesday, October 25, by Breton Peace and former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.); a book unlike any other, one that demonstrates in stunning fashion how we got here – to a place we have never been.
This is Gary Condit's story about the death of Chandra Levy, the end of his political career, and the inexplicable behind-the-scenes machinations that drove an unprecedented media frenzy and ultimately derailed the prosecution of her killer.
If you know nothing about this story, Actual Malice is a must read as a factual introduction to incompetence and corruption that frames the interplay between Washington political, law enforcement, and media elite.
If you think you know the story, it will likely challenge most of what you think you know, and does it with superb documentation.
Author and attorney Breton Peace has produced a book that captures one’s attention by competing with the best political thrillers and spy novels on the basis of entertainment alone, but has the huge advantage of being true – which makes it all the more alarming.
In fact, the entertainment value is so high that many readers will get lost in the intrigue of "horse whisperers, motorcycle gangs, and Middle East sex rings." As a result, many people have lost track of the sobering fact that our justice system and political system have been driven by dark forces manipulating a willing media that treat the bizarre as fact.
The message behind Actual Malice is far more sobering. We have become an unserious people who have conceded our most precious institutions to the purveyors of celebrity and gossip. Doing this has consequences, including losing our most precious societal possession – self-governance.
Actual Malice is a must read for anyone concerned about the state of our democracy.