Michael Wolff “one of our least reliable journalists” out-trumps Trump

Author of the book about the Trump White House, Fire and Fury, has been described as “one of our least reliable journalists”, but also that “our least reliable president could finally find himself undone at the hands” of Wolff, and that the book will pay off “from a real journalistic impact”.

Trump has responded by predictably slamming Wolff, but also praising himself – “I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius … and a very stable genius at that!” His ‘Streisand effect’ promotion of Wolff’s book may not be one of the most genius things he has done.

In a prologue to his book Wolff admits:

“Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue. These conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book.

“Sometimes I have let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them. In other instances I have, through a consistency in the accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true.”

But Wolff claims to have trasncripts of over two hundred interviews. Business Insider: The author of the explosive new Trump book says he can’t be sure if parts of it are true

The book itself, reviewed by Business Insider from a copy acquired prior to its Friday publication, is not always clear about what level of confidence the author has in any particular assertion.

Lengthy, private conversations are reported verbatim, as are difficult-to-ascertain details like what somebody was thinking or how the person felt.

Wolff attributes his book to “more than two hundred interviews” with people including Trump and “most members of his senior staff.” According to the news website Axios, Wolff has dozens of hours of tapes to back up what he said.

They include assertions that Trump never wanted to be president, that all of his senior staff considered him an idiot, that he tried to lock the Secret Service out of his room, and that he ate at McDonald’s to avoid being poisoned.

Business Insider rounded up some more of the most eye-catching claims in this article.

Predictably Trump is in full Monty attack/denial mode (probably the best promotion possible for the book in as per the “Streisand effect’).

 

Threats, followed by a swipe at his favourite targets (now including Wolff and Steve Bannon), and then promotion of his favourite person – himself:

Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad!

Now that Russian collusion, after one year of intense study, has proven to be a total hoax on the American public, the Democrats and their lapdogs, the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence.

Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames.

I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star .to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!

This may not be a genius response though. It reinforces the image of Trump as a self obsessed egomaniac. Perhaps he is so much a genius it appears to ordinary people as idiotic.

Drew Magary both slams the author but also claims : Michael Wolff Did What Every Other White House Reporter Is Too Cowardly to Do.

I’m gonna begin this post with the same disclaimer that needs to come with every post about Michael Wolff, which is that Wolff is a fart-sniffer whose credibility is often suspect and who represents the absolute worst of New York media-cocktail-circuit inbreeding. But in a way, it’s fitting that our least reliable president could finally find himself undone at the hands of one of our least reliable journalists.

…but the book has already caused legitimate upheaval in the administration, opened a permanent rift between President Trump and Bannon, AND it confirms what we have all always known to be true: that the president severely lacks the cognitive ability to do this job, and that he is surrounded at all times by a cadre of enablers, dunces, and outright thieves.

As much as I wanna discredit Wolff, he got receipts and, more important, he used them. Wolff got it all. Wolff nailed them.

And look how he did it. He did it by sleazily ingratiating himself with the White House, gaining access, hosting weird private dinners, and then taking full advantage of the administration’s basic lack of knowledge about how reporting works. Some of the officials Wolff got on tape claim to be unaware that they were on the record.

…he’s very much up front in the book’s intro about the fact that he was able to exploit the incredible “lack of experience” on display here. In other words, Wolff got his book by playing a bunch of naive dopes.

Wolff has spent this week thoroughly exploiting Trump and his minions the same way they’ve exploited the cluelessness of others. And he pulled it off because, at long last, there was a reporter out there willing to toss decorum aside and burn bridges the same way Trump does.

He has revealed the Emperor without clothes (that many people could see but media were too gutless to go hard on).

Everyone around Donald Trump is too polite to Donald Trump. Democrats, foreign dignitaries, underlings… all of them.

And the White House press is perhaps the worst offender. From the media pool playing along with Sarah Sanders during press conferences—conferences where Sanders openly lies and pisses on democracy—to access merchants like Maggie Haberman doling out Trump gossip like so many bread crumbs, too many reporters have been far too deferential to an administration that is brazenly racist, dysfunctional, and corrupt.

…the only end goal of their access is continued access, to preserve it indefinitely so that the copy spigot never gets shut off. They are abiding by traditional wink-wink understandings that have long existed between the government and the press covering it.

Journalists have been complicit in the fall of US democracy, and in particular have been complicit in the rise of Trump to the top of a farcical administration.

Wolff may be a sleazeball journalist but he has done what others weren’t prepared to do, and has out-sleazed Trump.

But Wolff didn’t do that. He did not engage in some endless bullshit access tango. No, Wolff actually USED his access, and extended zero courtesy to Trump on the process, and it’s going to pay off for him not just from a book sales standpoint, but from a real journalistic impact.

Ironically a gutter journalist has been prepared and able to blow the lid on the gutter that politics has become.

I am utterly sick to death of hearing anonymous reports about people inside the White House “concerned” about the madman currently in charge of everything. These people don’t deserve the courtesy of discretion. They don’t deserve to dictate the terms of coverage to people. They deserve to be torched.

Scathing of the establishment political media.

Trump ascended into power in part because he relied on other people being too nice. It’s fun to rampage through the china shop when the china shop owner is standing over there being like, “SIR, that is not how we do things here!”

If Trump refuses to abide by the standard (and now useless) “norms” of the presidency—shit, if he doesn’t even KNOW them—why should ANYONE in the press adhere to needless norms of their own?

They shouldn’t, and it appears that Michael Wolff was one of the few people to instinctively grasp that, and I hope more White House insiders follow his lead. Sometimes you need a rat to catch a rat.

A genius rat? Outsmarted.

David Remnick: The Increasing Unfitness of Donald Trump

What made the Emperor Nero tick, Suetonius writes in “Lives of the Caesars,” was “a longing for immortality and undying fame, though it was ill-regulated.”

Chaotic, corrupt, incurious, infantile, grandiose, and obsessed with gaudy real estate, Donald Trump is of a Neronic temperament. He has always craved attention. Now the whole world is his audience. In earlier times, Trump cultivated, among others, the proprietors and editors of the New York tabloids, Fox News, TMZ, and the National Enquirer. Now Twitter is his principal outlet, with no mediation necessary.

Future scholars will sift through Trump’s digital proclamations the way we now read the chroniclers of Nero’s Rome—to understand how an unhinged emperor can make a mockery of republican institutions, undo the collective nervous system of a country, and degrade the whole of public life.

Twitter may have allowed Trump to bypass, manipulate and torment the established media, but it has also left a trail of evidence, or perhaps more like an eight lane highway of evidence, of his unhinging.

…there is little doubt about who Donald Trump is, the harm he has done already, and the greater harm he threatens. He is unfit to hold any public office, much less the highest in the land.

This is not merely an orthodoxy of the opposition; his panicked courtiers have been leaking word of it from his first weeks in office.

The President of the United States has become a leading security threat to the United States.

But what can be done about it?

It seems all the world can do is watch has Trump and his presidency goes off the rails – and drags US credibility down with him.

Wolff may have a questionable reputation as a journalist, but he may have ultimately forced the United States of America to face up to the problem it has with it’s current president.

I know that some will still staunchly praise and defend Trump, but it’s likely that Wolff’s book will encourage more to look beyond the bull and Twitter and see Trump as he increasingly looks, an incompetent buffoon who managed to achieve some things, but whose negatives are too glaring and risky to keep sweeping under the White House carpet.

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57 Comments

    • duperez

       /  January 7, 2018

      There are quite a few who go to the best colleges and work their tails off for many successes. They don’t get to be the presidents of countries or of companies. That’s because they’re the caretakers and janitors.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  January 7, 2018

        I had never heard of Wharton University.

        From what I read, he wasn’t a brilliant student, and he walked into a family business.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  January 7, 2018

          And there’s something odd about saying how brilliant one is-that should be obvious.

  1. NOEL

     /  January 7, 2018

    One expects a lack of respect for the US from countries impacted by its presence but This President appears to have degraded opinion in friend and foe alike.

  2. As usual Fox generally campaigns for Trump.

    That’s ridiculous – there are many reasons why Trump became president. He is far from ‘normal’ – you have to be to even try for the US presidency.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  January 7, 2018

      I would be surprised if the book was full of false statements-it would be asking for trouble !

  3. MaureenW

     /  January 7, 2018

    The Trump/Russia collusion bull-shit got 12 months of headlines, it looks like we’re buckling in for another about Trumps emotional state of mind. How easily some people are lead by fake headlines and self-claimed best-seller titles. Humans have become like a troupe of agitated chimpanzees every time some idiot writes a new Trump headline that supports their TDS. Frankly, I’d prefer to be commenting on Trump’s tweets – there are some good activities happening behind the scenes pertaining to these, and they have solid entertainment value.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  January 7, 2018

      Well, the book sold out on Amazon on its first day and it has indeed been a best-seller, so it it isn’t claiming that about itself (‘self-claimed best-seller’) and the author isn’t claiming to have written a best-seller.

      I know nobody who acts like an agitated chimp every time there’s a particular kind of Trump headline and I can’t imagine that ‘humans’ generally do.

  4. George

     /  January 7, 2018

    Another fake news ‘Get Trump’ move.
    The Russian bogeyman claim is failing.
    A year and a half and nothing
    The good news about the American economy is filtering through.

  5. David

     /  January 7, 2018

    And yet this “semi illiterate buffoon” who is in bed at 6.30 every night with a cheeseburger is a billionaire who beat “the worlds most qualified” candidate for presidency. I get that TDS that has infected the world but this book is absolutely ludicrous.
    We have now had 12 months of Trump and warnings of end of the world about to happen but I think most would say the world is a slightly better place thanks to this rather odd presidency.

    • Blazer

       /  January 7, 2018

      As if you’ve even read..the book.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  January 7, 2018

  6. Joe Bloggs

     /  January 7, 2018

    In just the past two months:
    – trump’s national security adviser pleaded guilty to federal charges and is now co-operating with Mueller’s investigation
    – trump’s campaign manager through the RNC was arrested, charged, and released only after posting US$10 million in bail
    – the man that trump called one of his top foreign policy advisers has pleaded guilty in US federal court and is now co-operating with Mueller and the feds
    – another senior campaign aide was charged in a 12-count indictment
    – and now his former trusted advisor and transition manager has described the actions of trump’s henchmen who met with Russians during the campaign, as treasonous.

    Out-take:
    Mueller may not have discovered, or more likely not disclosed, evidence of Russian collusion but he’s been very effective in rooting out corruption amongst trump’s close associates.

    Then there are the views of other key members of trump’s administration:
    – US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin called him an “idiot”
    – trump’s own lawyer Roy Cohn dismissed him as “dumb”
    – national security adviser H.R. McMaster describes him as a “dope”
    – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson describes him as a “fucking moron”.

    Out-take:
    By the accounts of his own key staff trump is neither stable nor a genius.

    No fake news in any of that.

    • MaureenW

       /  January 7, 2018

      Try reading what is happening in the Clinton, Comey, Abedin (and others) space regarding treason, espionage, corruption and other crimes. This will provide some perspective on why the “get Trump” noise never ceases. Someone will be indicted for jailable crimes – it won’t be Trump.

      • Joe Bloggs

         /  January 7, 2018

        Yeah I get it Maureen: Pizzagate, Uranium One, Benghazi, the email server, Billy-boy’s sexual predations, the Kenyan birth certificate… whatever it takes to divert attention from trump

        Face it, your emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

        • MaureenW

           /  January 7, 2018

          He’s not my emperor, I agree with David (above) , it’s a rather odd presidency – entertaining and interesting. You would have to wonder why so much effort is being undertaken to discredit Trump with smoke and mirrors when his warts are clearly visible. It reminds me of the same effort that went in to convincing people that Saddam had nukes.

          • “You would have to wonder why so much effort is being undertaken to discredit Trump’

            He does that himself to a large extent. If he focussed on his job rather than his image he would probably do a lot better.

          • Gezza

             /  January 7, 2018

            We all complain that the msm today is too full of infotainment.

            Trump likes to entertain.

            And the msm loves to indulge him – & Sarah – because they ARE both great entertainment.

            Like Sean, Sarah will have a Use By (or more likely a Used Up By) date.

        • MaureenW

           /  January 7, 2018

          Here are a few articles on what’s happening in Clinton land, and possibly this is the reason so much nonsense is being thrown at Trump and pumped out through the MSM. Divert attention away from Trump? How about diverting attention away from Clinton.

          Trump: I’m not under investigation, but ‘maybe Hillary is’
          http://thehill.com/homenews/administr
          Official: FBI investigating Clinton Foundation ‘for months’
          https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/hill
          FBI Launches New Investigation into the Clinton Foundation
          https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/01/
          Justice Department ‘Looking Into’ Hillary Clinton’s Emails— Again
          https://www.thedailybeast.com/justice

          • Clinton is largely a separate issue, ‘look at Hillary!’ has been a frequent attempt at diversion by Trump (and Trump supporters).

            • MaureenW

               /  January 7, 2018

              That’s rubbish Pete, her and her entourage have been trying to take Trump down since day 1. They have not stopped – who is going to get who first – that’s the question.

            • There is no indication Wolff is working for Clinton, and Bannon certainly hasn’t been on Clinton’s side, so blaming this in Clinton is futile.

              Mueller isn’t working for Clinton either, he’s working for the FBI.

              It’s rubbish to try to defend all of Trump’s nonsense by trying to blame Clinton.

            • MaureenW

               /  January 7, 2018

              I’m not defending Trump’s nonsense by blaming Clinton – just pointing out that she has a lot at stake and you’d have to wonder why she funds fake dossiers to take Trump down when there’s plenty of non-fake criminal behaviour to nail her with

            • Gezza

               /  January 7, 2018

              Pull the other one Maureen, it plays Proud Mary !

              Trump, & everybody who blndly backs the egotistical clown, constantly defend his nonsense by going “what about Hillary?”.

              So why isn’t she under arrest & in jail like he threatened? It’s a joke. By all means he should start an investigation (& good luck with that!) but she’s a separate issue from Trump’s endless narcissistic bizarreness.

    • David

       /  January 7, 2018

      “but he’s been very effective in rooting out corruption amongst trump’s close associates.”

      You what? What corruption has he rooted out?! All charges so far are process related, i.e. if there was no investigation, there would have been no crime. He has not yet charged a single crime that is not related to the actual investigation so I ask, exactly what corruption has he found?

      • Griff

         /  January 8, 2018

        Process related.
        Like telling lies to the investigation.
        Wonder why they lied ?
        Just maybe because what they were doing was at lest questionable.

  7. Trevors_elbow

     /  January 7, 2018

    Another day and it rolls on… US economy on the up… China less sure of the US and not inclined to take it on openly….UN funding clipped…. and the liberal, coastal US based media continues to lose its shit…

    Trump is one hell of an idiot…. /sarc

  8. artcroft

     /  January 7, 2018

    “China less sure of the US and not inclined to take it on openly” you mean US less involved in the world and China has a free hand to do as it pleases. i.e
    https://www.voanews.com/a/china-satellites-control-south-china-sea/4193499.html
    https://www.voanews.com/a/china-satellites-control-south-china-sea/4193499.html

  9. Patzcuaro

     /  January 7, 2018

    Polishing your own halo

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  January 7, 2018

      I think Mythbusters have already done an episode on polishing turds.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  January 7, 2018

        I didn’t envy Sarah Huckabee Sanders having to explain away whyTrump claimed to have phone conversations with the ‘head of the Scouts organisation’ and the president of Mexico, both saying how wonderful he was, when these conversations didn’t happen.

    • David

       /  January 7, 2018

      Another masterful troll by the Donald,

      • Patzcuaro

         /  January 7, 2018

        Masterful troll of a self proclaimed genius or the ramblings of a madman, take you pick, it all leads to bedlam.

  10. Gerrit

     /  January 7, 2018

    What are the press going to write about when Trump finally gone and no longer president in a year, 3 years or 8?

    I think the stage is now set for any president or even a presidential hopeful to be investigated and dissected (truthful or not) to within a millimeter of being untenable.

    The “investigative” press is now so large, embedded and emboldened that it will feed on anyone in public office.

    Only someone with a background of living in a “Little House on the Prairie” (if you can remeber the TV series) will be suitable and perfectly free from past or present indiscretions.

    Trump may well fall under the onslaught but the genie is out of the bottle in regards gutter and fake news journalism.

    • “the genie is out of the bottle in regards gutter and fake news journalism”

      That’s been so for a long time but almost all modern presidents have survived to see out at least one term.

      • Gerrit

         /  January 7, 2018

        So far there is no indication he wont see out his full term. To remove Trump from office on the grounds of “insanity” requires the cooperation and agreement of the vice-president.

        This is under a loophole in the 25th amendment to the constitution.

        “Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

        https://www.businessinsider.com.au/25th-amendment-how-can-you-remove-president-from-office-2017-3?r=US&IR=T

        “The vice president is the pivot in the whole process. Unless the vice president puts himself — maybe one day, herself — forward, no one else can really basically, at least within the 25th Amendment framework, proclaim an unwilling president ‘disabled.’”

        Not going to be easy to remove a “mad” president via the 25th Amendment. Up to the two republican controlled congress to impeach the president.

  11. duperez

     /  January 7, 2018

    Drew Magary and David Remnick are just two recently to make observations about Trump. Wolff too.

    Some at the party are saying that someone there has pooed their pants. It was obvious from the beginning that things weren’t right. The most sensitive, the keenest noses, were told they were wrong or that it was air freshener necessary to clear the air.
    As the smell has become more noticeable some who initially said there was no smell are keeping mum. Others are inured by their desperate effort at ingratiation, self-preservation and their own plans. It mightn’t take a genius to sense crap but it takes someone brave or with their own peculiar agenda to proclaim to everyone the shit is there, the stench intolerable.

    “Some will still staunchly praise and defend Trump”? Of course, even from this distance in NZ. It’s easy to eschew the savvy and sage sniffers right there. Smells can’t travel online.

  12. Zedd

     /  January 7, 2018

    methinks Mr T has spent his whole life ‘in the lap of luxury’.. with a massive ‘silver spoon in his mouth’ (or elsewhere) & does not seem to be able to relate to anything BUT the ‘Fantasy Island’ he/his family live on.
    He really seems to believe the neo-liberal adage; that if you pour all the money/resources in at the top, they will ‘trickle down’ BUT thats not, even reality either.. all it does, is creates a wider; ‘Mind the Gap folks !’ 😦

  13. Ray

     /  January 7, 2018

    The book takes the position, that I find quite likely, in that Trump didn’t expect to win and was quite unprepared to take office when he was.
    Every that has happened since including the book looks to me to back that up.
    It is really sad to see a great country that has been a leading light brought so low but to my mind this rat hole has been developing since the Nixon years.

    • Blazer

       /  January 7, 2018

      Dead right Ray…Eisenhower saw it developing and warned about it….unfortunately the rat culture exploded to what we have..today.

  14. Ray

     /  January 7, 2018

    You are right Blazer (wonder how few times I will say that again this year)
    President Eisenhower speech in 1961 showed the way.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military%E2%80%93industrial_complex
    Nixon took up the torch and ran with it!

    • Patzcuaro

       /  January 7, 2018

      I think he was looking for John Key.

    • David

       /  January 8, 2018

      He looks in control there, while everyone else is tying themselves in knots…..

      • Patzcuaro

         /  January 8, 2018

        Doesn’t take a genius to work it out, cross your arms before you hold hands.

      • Gezza

         /  January 8, 2018

        Looks to me like he’s trying to figure out what he’s got wrong & not getting it.

  15. Alan Wilkinson

     /  January 8, 2018

    Bannon apologises for being a bull artist and talking to a liar:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11971176

    The book will be on a par with the Democrat – Fusion GPS dossier for credibility and disappear as ignominiously.