Political author Joe McGinniss, best known for his 1968 work The Selling of the President about the Richard Nixon campaign, died Tuesday morning of prostate cancer. He was 71.
McGinniss rocketed to fame off his first book, which chronicled the intersection of media and politics through the prism of a presidential campaign. The book landed him on the New York Times bestseller list (making him, at that point, the youngest living writer to appear there).
McGinniss also wrote novels, and several works about high-profile cases, including one, Fatal Vision, that wound McGinnis up in a court dispute with defendant Jeffrey MacDonald.
McGinniss returned to his original subject of politics and media when he moved next door to Sarah Palin in 2010 to chronicle her for a book, enraging the Palin family in the process. McGinnis saw Palin as a woeful bookend to the process he spotted forty years earlier. “It has all become entertainment,” Mr. McGinniss said. “In the 21st century, politics is just another branch of the entertainment industry.”
Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, who said he knew McGinniss for fifty years, remembered him fondly: “Joe McGinniss will be remembered as a talented man,” Ailes said Tuesday. “He changed political writing forever in 1968. We differed on many things, but he had a good heart. My prayers are with his family.”
[h/t New York Times]
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