New York magazine's excerpt from Michael Wolff's new book is an astounding and highly satisfying piece of entertainment. But there are enough doubts about its veracity that The Washington Post has already published two columns warning us to read the book skeptically, one by media critic Paul Farhi and the other by political reporter Aaron Blake.
Farhi notes Wolff's record as an (alleged) fabricator:
[Wolff's book] “Burn Rate” came under siege from critics who challenged its credibility, including the long verbatim conversations that Wolff recounted despite taking scant notes. Brill’s Content, a now-defunct media-review publication, cited a dozen people who disputed quotes attributed to them in the book.
Wolff followed up “Burn Rate” by taking over the media column at New York magazine, where he almost immediately ran into trouble. Judith Regan, then a hotshot book editor who had been a classmate of Wolff’s at Vassar, vigorously disputed almost every paragraph of Wolff’s column about her. She said she hadn’t had a personal conversation with Wolff in 30 years....
New Republic columnist Andrew Sullivan accused Wolff of putting words in his mouth when Wolff wrote in 2001 that Sullivan “believes that he is the most significant gay public intellectual in America today.” Sullivan said he never made any such claim.
As both Farhi and Blake note, Wolff suggests that Trump didn't know who John Boehner was when Roger Ailes recommended him as a possible White House chief of staff -- even though Trump had golfed with Boehner and mentioned him in at least four campaign speeches, as well as a tweet. Blake also quotes this tweet from Nick Confessore of The New York Times:
Did Wolff create dialogue, as Confessore suggests? Did Wolff invent the Jared-Ivanka pact under which the missus rather than her husband will be the one who runs for president if the opportunity arises? Should we not believe the story about Trump receiving a briefing on the Constitution and getting bored around the time of the Fourth Amendment? Did Wolff make up the I don't intend to win because I ran for the brand-building worldview of candidate Trump?
Well, Trumpers, if you're being lied about in a high-profile media account, that sucks -- but welcome to our world. This has been happening to Democratic presidents since the 1990s, whether it was the sex toys on the Clinton White House Christmas tree in Gary Aldrich's #1 New York Times bestseller from 1996, Unlimited Access, or Dinesh D'Souza and Newt Gingrich asserting in print, on television, and in film that Barack Obama wanted to take America down a peg because an "anti-colonial" philosophy inherited from his late father. Being slandered and libeled in the media just comes with the territory for Democratic presidents and aspirants. John Kerry allegedly fabricated his military record. Bill and Hillary Clinton allegedly had a lot of people killed. Chelsea Clinton was allegedly the result of a marital rape. Barack Obama is allegedly a Kenyan by birth who allegedly gay-married his Pakistani roommate and then used the same wedding ring (with Arabic inscription!) to marry Michelle.
Did Wolff lie about the president? Boo-hoo. The GOP has built itself on lies about Democrats. If there's dishonesty in the Wolff book, it's Republicans getting a taste of their own medicine.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog