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Posted at 11:34 AM ET, 11/28/2012

Publicist confirms it: Fox News banned book critical of George W. Bush

In his much-discussed mea culpa about the reality-denialism of movement conservatism, Bruce Bartlett made a striking claim: He wrote that he was not allowed on Fox News — where he had previously been a regular guest — to discuss a book he’d just published that was highly critical of George W. Bush.

I’ve just received confirmation of this episode on the record from Bartlett’s publicist at the time.

In the article, Bartlett charged that he’s had multiple firsthand experiences of the ways in which Republicans are “closing their eyes to any facts or evidence that conflict with their dogma.” As one of many examples, Bartlett recalled his personal experience of conservative intolerance of criticism of Bush.

Bartlett wrote that he’d published a book in 2006 called “Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy,” and said it had cost him his job at a conservative think tank — a widely discussed episode at the time. Bartlett also wrote that the book got him blacklisted at Fox News:

Among the interesting reactions to my book is that I was banned from Fox News. My publicist was told that orders had come down from on high that it was to receive no publicity whatsoever, not even attacks. Whoever gave that order was smart; attacks from the right would have sold books. Being ignored was poison for sales.

Bartlett’s publicist at the time was Nicole Dewey, who was then at Doubleday. She is now the executive director of publicity at Little, Brown and Company, and in a telephone interview this morning, she confirmed Bartlett’s recollections. She said she’d tried extensively to get him booked on Fox to discuss the book — to no avail.

“It was surprising to me that no one would book him,” Dewey told me. ”He had been a regular on Fox News prior to that. He had been interviewed on any number of Fox News shows before that.”

Once Bartlett published the book, Dewey confirms, “I was pitching him directly to probably most of the shows that were on Fox at that point. No one would book him.” A Fox spokesperson didn’t immediately return an email for comment.

Asked directly about Bartlett’s claim that she’d been told that “orders had come down from on high” that the book was to receive “no publicity whatsoever,” Dewey said she didn’t remember precisely what reason she was given by Fox for not booking Bartlett for any appearances — it was six years ago. But she said Bartlett’s description of events “rings true to me.”

“My general sense was that they didn’t like the message of the book,” Dewey said. “Bruce’s recollection of events sounds exactly like what happened.”

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UPDATE: A reader has found an example of Bartlett being interviewed about his book on a Fox News program in 2006. I’ve asked both Bartlett and Dewey for comment, and I’ll update if I hear back.

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UPDATE II: Bartlett tells me his appearance on the above program, ”The Journal Editorial Report,” doesn’t contradict his overall point.

“My recollection is that the Journal owned and booked that show,” he said. “They handled all of the arrangements. So I was not booked by a Fox booker. And [Fox] had nothing to do with the programming. Nicole was trying to get me on regular Fox News shows that I had in fact appeared on on many occasions.”

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UPDATE III: It’s also worth noting that Bartlett claimed he had “stopped being quoted” in the Wall Street Journal as well, but as my Post colleague Erik Wemple reports, he did get quoted, and the Journal flatly denied the claim.

By  |  11:34 AM ET, 11/28/2012

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