“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.”
—Michael Wolff, author of the soon-to-be-released “Fire and Fury,” which the news media, cable news, and the internet has been quoting, reporting on and fulminating over for days, in an interview about his soon-to-be best seller.
This is an admission that the book–-his own book— is not a reliable or trustworthy source. What an author, especially one conflicted with the desire to make a fortune on a book, “believes to be true” are not facts. Woolf is saying that his book is an undifferentiated melange of likely lies, distortions, hearsay, rumors, and accounts that can’t be verified, as well as some truth, leaving it to readers to determine which is which according to what they want to believe. At least he’s honest about that.
That anything in such a book would be treated as news by any allegedly respectable news organization is as damning an indictment of the state of U.S. journalism as anything this rotting pillar of democracy has done in the last decade. Readers and viewers who treat these reports as more than gossip should be ashamed of themselves. They are contributing to the civic de-education of the American public by making unethical journalism profitable.
The news media works overtime to create contempt and disrespect for the elected President. As a result, it conditions its converts to accept fake news, half-news, and speculative news as fact, thus adding to that contempt and disrespect. Pseudo journalists like Wolff predictably seek to profit from this toxic, trust- and democracy-rotting cycle.
A twitterer with six-figures of followers sent this parody of Wolff’s book into social media:
Naturally, even though it was ridiculous on its face, he was re-tweeted thousands of times and his fake excerpt from a largely fake book was widely accepted as true. When he revealed his hoax, the furious efforts to debunk the obvious conclusion to be drawn from his experiment were as revealing as the fact that it persuaded the Trump Deranged. Here was my favorite:
The Gorilla Channel Test: If enough people find it plausible that the president has spent multiple hours hunched in front of a television, shouting instructions to gorilla fight combatants, maybe it’s time for a new president. I propose this amendment to the constitution.
This neatly sums up the logic of “the resistance” news media. Undermine the President by biased and negative news reporting so that the public will literally believe the worst about him with or without evidence, and then argue that the President should be deposed because he doesn’t have the respect and trust of the people.
Wolff is a venal slug. The journalists who are promoting his work are worse.
Oh–in debunking the “Gorilla Channel” hoax, Snopes.com pronounced the story “not such an unlikely turn of events, given how improbable much of 2016 and 2017 were,” because Snopes itself is, as documented here before, biased and dedicated to a partisan agenda.
Pointer: Rusty Rebar