Unethical Quote Of The Week: “Fire And Fury” Author Michael Wolff

“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

99 Comments

Filed under U.S. Society

99 responses to “Unethical Quote Of The Week: “Fire And Fury” Author Michael Wolff

  1. Chris marschner

    This guy is a lousy writer. The quote above actually states that none of the “accounts” of what happened in the white house can be believed. He is giving his accounting of what went on. So all the accounts he references are his accounts.

    So which are in conflict? Which are baldly untrue? Whose statements are baldly untrue – your interpretatations or those of interviewees? If they are untrue in “Trumpian fashion” why are they offered as evidence as to what goes on in the administration?

    What troubles me is that this is portrayed as non-fiction which by his own statements suggest that much of it is tittilating fiction.

    • That was how I read it. This is like one of those memoirs where the subject says “this is how I remember it,” and the thing is full of distortions and fables. Except in this case, the story-teller has even more reasons to hype and accept dubious accounts as legitimate. Like Peterman in “Seinfeld” buying stories to put in his ghostwritten “autobiography.”

  2. Another Mike

    I doubt the author cares very much about how we perceive him… The national news tonight was all over this story with the author “supporting” his book, etc. The telling part was the video of all the people mobbing bookstores to buy the book… some stayed out so they could get theirs at 0001hr, when they first went on sale; some late-night-host said he would buy 20. It sounds like the author’s plan has worked out well: when most of this is dismissed and/or debunked, he will still have a lot of money.

  3. Chris

    Maybe you’re right that some found the tweet plausible because the media has been so unfair to him. Or maybe some found it plausible because Trump’s public behavior is so bizarre. It’s probably a bit of both.

    In the interest of transparency, it had me until the third paragraph. Re-reading it now, I don’t think I was being stupid to find the first two paragraphs plausible.

    You’re also completely ignoring how this book became a major news story in the first place. As soon as the quotes from the book attitubuted to Bannon became news, this was going to be a story, because a public feud between a president and one of his former top advisers is of course news.

    Then there was Trump’s response, in which he called said former top adviser insane. Then his ridiculous cease-and-desist letter added more fuel to the fire and prompted the publisher to release the book early.

    Honestly, I don’t understand how you could expect the media to not report on the book under these circumstances. If David Axelrod were quoted as saying the things Bannon is quoted as saying about Trump, and then Obama responded by calling him nuts and threatening to sue to censor the book, that would be a major news story. The media wouldn’t be as gleeful to report on it, and would probably treat the claims therein with more skepticism. But it would still be a story.

    • It’s not that bizarre. But I knew the post was garbage immediately because there is no “gorilla channel”

      • Chris

        …but the joke works because it’s plausible that Trump doesn’t know that. (Honestly, when I began reading it I thought it was going to be a story about Trump’s dementia.)

        • The joke works because Leftist twits like you, consumed by hatred, want it to be plausible that Trump doesn’t know that.

          • Chris

            Yes, because Trump always has an accurate sense of reality and is knowledgeable about many things.

            How noble of you to defend him.

            • Chris, your sense of reality is pretty shaky, but I can credit you with not being so stupid as to believe in a Gorilla Channel. You see, one of the flaws of staking out enemies in life, like you have with Trump, is that in reality, bad things are not ALL bad, and in fact are far less bad than you want them to be.

              I’m not defending Trump. I’m defending literally EVERYBODY from stupid extremist evaluations, like you make of Trump.

              • Chris

                Trump doesn’t remember that he ended DACA. I don’t find it hard to believe he might think there’s a “gorilla channel.” (The part where he starts talking to the gorillas on the TV is what made me realize it was satire, so don’t act like I don’t have limits.)

                https://mobile.twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/948211438472089600?lang=en

                • Probably a good thing you didn’t post the contents of the tweet since everyone can see from the nature of the tweet the term “DACA” implies the political objectives behind all those policies and policies touching on that topic and not the specific policy enacted by Obama and halted by Trump.

                  This is pedantry. I’d like to say you are better than that.

                  • Chris

                    First of all, asshole, I thought the tweet would post, and I’m not sure why it didn’t.

                    Second, you’re saying by “DACA activists” he didn’t mean activists who supported DACA, but activists who support other issues “touching on DACA,” who are going to magically rush to the party that ended DACA.

                    I get why this makes sense to Trump. But this makes sense to you? No wonder you rush to his defense; you’re as dumb as he is.

                    • Or he means activists who want to ensure some way to protect minors who entered the country illegally due to conduct of their parents. Such protections which could be obtained via other means not specifically by Obama’s DACA policy.

                      Duh.

                      Whether or not his prognosis that they will come clamoring to the GOP is accurate is irrelevant.

                      His use of “DACA” here is clearly indicative of “the desire to protect the minors that previously were considered to have been protected by DACA”.

                      It’s easy to see if you don’t just blind yourself with hate to trap Trump in everything. And no, it’s not a defense of Trump as much as he falls by proxy under my defense of morons who are trapped by hateful pedantry.

                    • Chris

                      You will spin anything.

                      Imagine if Trump had said “Democrats are doing nothing for Obamacare – just interested in politics. Obamacare activists will go hard against Dems, will start “falling in love” with Republicans and their President! We are about RESULTS.”

                      …And your response was:

                      “Or he means activists who want to ensure some way to ensure Americans have healthcare coverage, which could be obtained via other means not specifically by Obamacare.

                      Duh.

                      Whether or not his prognosis that they will come clamoring to the GOP is accurate is irrelevant.

                      His use of ‘Obamacare’ here is clearly indicative of “the desire to protect the Americans who previously were considered to have been protected by Obamacare.

                      It’s easy to see if you don’t just blind yourself with hate to trap Trump in everything. And no, it’s not a defense of Trump as much as he falls by proxy under my defense of morons who are trapped by hateful pedantry.”

                      Would you write the above, Tex? Or do you recognize how incredibly stupid that would be?

                    • That’s a silly analogy.

                      I think (and I think most people will agree) “Obamacare” is understood ENOUGH to refer to a specific policy. Whereas “DACA”, the executive action revolving around the failure of the Dream Act, is nebulous enough to cover the topic pursued by the failed Dream Act.

                      It’s easy to read Trump discussing the notion that those who support the Dream Act under the easy moniker of DACA activists. It’s admittedly cloudy since the two actions, one a failed legislative act and the other an executive end run of dubious constitutionality, notionally pursued the same end result.

                      So yeah, your attempt to portray my argument as “stupid” fails.

                      Try again.

                    • crella

                      When you start name-calling, you’ve lost, Chris.

                      What is it about so many liberals that they can take one challenge to their assertions, but if people keep disagreeing they start to either call names or call the other person stupid? I see this literally everywhere. 99% of my FB feed is liberal, and they all argue this way. If the other person doesn’t roll over immediately after one of the Woke, Enlightened Ones makes a statement, the fur flies. Everyone is supposed to say ‘Oh, why yes, you’re so right’, and change their minds instantly. It’s one reason we never get anywhere.

                    • Chris

                      Crella,

                      Why did you direct that comment toward me, and not Tex, who initiated the name-calling by calling me a “Leftist twit?”

                      Can you clarify your rule? Does “When you start name-calling, you’ve lost” only apply to liberals? Why do conservatives get a pass on this?

                    • “Twit” may have been harsh, but some label describe your own admission that you partially fell for the Gorilla Channel story is perfectly acceptable. So I’m not sure that qualifies as “name calling” insomuch as “name calling” connotes an empty insult for the sake of empty insults. It very much had a basis in admitted fact.

                      If “Twit” is too harsh, would you prefer “dupe”?

                    • Chris

                      Said the guy who is still standing by the “Trump obviously didn’t mean DACA when he repeatedly said DACA” spin. Call me whatever the fuck you want. I have a wedding venue to look at in the morning and you’ve done nothing but waste my night with insults and refusals to engage in actual discussion.

                    • I wouldn’t say I wasted your night. But blame others as you must.

                    • crella

                      I didn’t see it, Chris. I went back and looked for it, and saw it. I’m sorry I missed the first part of the exchange. I have the impression that you disparage people pretty quickly when they don’t agree with you. You could be, or it could be a personal bias on my part. I will keep that in mind when I read from now on, and try to make sure I am not forming biased opinions of commenters.

                      There’s no reply option under your message to me, so I’ve gone upthread to the first of your posts from the bottom that has one. I’m hoping it will be in order.

                    • Chris

                      Thank you, crella. I appreciate your response.

                    • Chris

                      That’s a silly analogy.

                      I think (and I think most people will agree) “Obamacare” is understood ENOUGH to refer to a specific policy. Whereas “DACA”, the executive action revolving around the failure of the Dream Act, is nebulous enough to cover the topic pursued by the failed Dream Act.

                      It’s easy to read Trump discussing the notion that those who support the Dream Act under the easy moniker of DACA activists. It’s admittedly cloudy since the two actions, one a failed legislative act and the other an executive end run of dubious constitutionality, notionally pursued the same end result.

                      So yeah, your attempt to portray my argument as “stupid” fails.

                      Try again.

                      Pure spin. “DACA” is no more “nebulous” than Obamacare; you just invented that standard to save face. DACA, to most people, means DACA. DACA activists are not going to run to a president and party that ended DACA; the idea is a fantasy. If Trump wanted children brought here illegally to have a way to stay in the country, he wouldn’t have ended DACA, unless his only goal was to end something Obama did out of spite. Trump’s tweet is empty, cynical posturing at best and a sign of dementia at worst. There is no version of it, not even your spin, that reflects well on him.

                    • “Pure spin. “DACA” is no more “nebulous” than Obamacare; you just invented that standard to save face. DACA, to most people, means DACA. DACA activists are not going to run to a president and party that ended DACA; the idea is a fantasy. If Trump wanted children brought here illegally to have a way to stay in the country, he wouldn’t have ended DACA, unless his only goal was to end something Obama did out of spite. Trump’s tweet is empty, cynical posturing at best and a sign of dementia at worst. There is no version of it, not even your spin, that reflects well on him.”

                      I already told you that whether or not his guess that Amnesty-for-illegal-immigrant-minor lobbyists would flock to the Republican party is irrelevant. So strike this: “means DACA. DACA activists are not going to run to a president and party that ended DACA; the idea is a fantasy. If Trump wanted children brought here illegally to have a way to stay in the country, he wouldn’t have ended DACA, unless his only goal was to end something Obama did out of spite. Trump’s tweet is empty, cynical posturing at best and a sign of dementia at worst. There is no version of it, not even your spin, that reflects well on him.” which becomes fully irrelevant.

                      We’re left then with your rump comment, voided of the diversion:

                      “Pure spin. “DACA” is no more “nebulous” than Obamacare; you just invented that standard to save face. DACA, to most people, means DACA.”

                      No, not really.

                      Obamacare was a legislative action. Fully understood as one. Started by Congress, signed by the Executive. One single act. Clear. (though the law itself was a abject mess, though it’s hangers-on insist it is great).

                      The Dream Act, is legislation that never passed Congress even on multiple tries. DACA was Obama’s constitutional violation to create a Dream Act-like exception. So we have 2 governmental actions, one a failed honest attempt, the other a dishonest attempt to achieve the same ends. It makes perfect sense to summarize the two objectives as Trump did.

                      Now that the meat is done, we’ll address your feeble diversion to whether or not Trump’s analysis made sense…that is, the entire part of your comment we had to scratch due to its irrelevance.

                      If Trump wanted children brought here illegally to have a way to stay in the country, he most certainly would have ended DACA, since it is probably unconstitutional, and then expected Congress to fulfill its role in passing the Dream Act, for him to sign. If that is the will of Congress.

                      You see, we live in a constitutional republic, Chris, and despite your hate blinders, Trump actually made the right call here for Rule of Law.

                      I eagerly await your next bout of spin.

                    • Well, Trump’s subsequent word salads regarding this topic solidly support my assertion that his use of the abbreviation DACA does cover all things regarding the objective of protecting those originally meant to be protected by the Dream Act.

                      So, I think we’re done here.

                    • crella

                      That should have been ‘ maybe you do, or maybe it’s bias on my part’. I rewrote the comment three or four times before I posted it, and it’s garbled.

                    • Chris

                      If your argument all along was “Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” then we’ve no argument at all.

                      I stand by my statement that if he truly wanted those children to stay here, he wouldn’t have eliminated DACA. Unless of course resentment toward Obama is his primary motivator.

                      Which it is.

                    • “If your argument all along was “Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” then we’ve no argument at all”.

                      No.

                      I already elucidated what my argument was pertaining to your claims about his tweet: that he used DACA as a quick reference to political action regarding the children of illegal immigrants who vicariously immigrated illegally themselves.

                      I assume by repeating the diversion towards the efficacy of his policy claims again you concede that you were wrong in your assertion that his tweet indicated that he forgot he discontinued Obama’s executive action termed DACA, and therefore your assertion doesn’t do anything to bolster your prior claim that it’s highly believable that Trump would fall for a “Gorilla Channel”.

                      Which was all an attempt to soften your own error when you projected your hatred for Trump into a “likelihood that he would fall for the Gorilla Channel”.

                      “I stand by my statement that if he truly wanted those children to stay here, he wouldn’t have eliminated DACA.”

                      Yeah, that would be the repeated diversion towards the efficacy of his policy claims…which I’ve demonstrated is irrelevant to your evaluation of his use of the term DACA. Which is NOT what we’re discussing.

                      “Unless of course resentment toward Obama is his primary motivator.

                      Which it is.”

                      Also that DACA was unconstitutional, and by ending it and putting the onus on Congress to pass a DACA-like or Dream Act-like law, like maybe even the Dream Act itself, he’s returning the policy to a Constitutionally correct form.

                      There’s that possibility.

                      But you hate him and it’s made you incapable of objective analysis.

                      I do find it terrifying that you think a “good” policy should remain in place regardless of it’s Constitutionality. That is a terrifying place indeed for you to be regarding the functioning of our Republic. What is the matter with you?

                    • Chris

                      No.

                      I already elucidated what my argument was pertaining to your claims about his tweet: that he used DACA as a quick reference to political action regarding the children of illegal immigrants who vicariously immigrated illegally themselves.

                      I understand and find it plausible that was his intent. You seem to be arguing that using the term DACA as shorthand makes sense…it just doesn’t. Most people would assume that by DACA, he means DACA. It remains ridiculous for Trump to claim that DACA activists are going to come running to the party and president that ended DACA.

                      If he routinely claims ridiculous things (and really, this isn’t even in the top ten of his ridiculous claims), then it’s plausible that he believes ridiculous things.

                      Like that there’s a gorilla channel.

                      do find it terrifying that you think a “good” policy should remain in place regardless of it’s Constitutionality. That is a terrifying place indeed for you to be regarding the functioning of our Republic. What is the matter with you?

                      All that bending over backwards to interpret Trump’s words in the best possible light, and you never even considered whether I might disagree with you over whether DACA is constitutional? Get off your high horse. Am I to assume you didn’t consider this because you hate me?

                    • 1) Continue tap dancing around being wrong about his use of the abbreviation DACA by diverting to the plausibility of his assessment. That’s fine. That’s all the concession we need.

                      2) Also, it just occurred to me that you are wrong on another level. Your claim was that he forgot he ended DACA. This is false. He set an end DATE for DACA, in March of this year. This is fundamentally different than what you need to solidify your claim. So that is 2 marks against your original assertion.

                      I’d wager though that you’ll tap-dance around this also.

                      3) I actually did extend the possibility that you don’t believe DACA to be unconstitutional. But to assume that possibility I would have had to assume you were stupid. You see, it’s been explained thoroughly here HOW DACA is unconstitutional. You were privy to those discussions. So I assumed you DID know it was unconstitutional. Which leaves one option: You don’t mind it being unconstitutional. But now you claim you don’t think it is unconstitutional, which leaves me with the 1st possibility that I should have extended….and its associated assumption.

                      Like I said. I think we’re done here. You were wrong in your assessment of his tweet…doubly so. Which simultaneously undermines that comment as it effects your defense of your bigoted assumption that Trump would fall for the Gorilla Channel joke…

                    • Chris

                      1) Continue tap dancing around being wrong about his use of the abbreviation DACA by diverting to the plausibility of his assessment. That’s fine. That’s all the concession we need.

                      I thought the explicit concession I made that you were probably right about his intent in saying “DACA activists” (meaning I was probably wrong) was all the concession you needed.

                      Following up on that by pointing out his phrasing still doesn’t make much sense isn’t “tap-dancing.”

                      2) Also, it just occurred to me that you are wrong on another level. Your claim was that he forgot he ended DACA. This is false. He set an end DATE for DACA, in March of this year. This is fundamentally different than what you need to solidify your claim. So that is 2 marks against your original assertion.

                      Thanks for the correction.

                      I’d wager though that you’ll tap-dance around this

                      I wish you had!

                      <ih3) I actually did extend the possibility that you don’t believe DACA to be unconstitutional. But to assume that possibility I would have had to assume you were stupid. You see, it’s been explained thoroughly here HOW DACA is unconstitutional. You were privy to those discussions. So I assumed you DID know it was unconstitutional. Which leaves one option: You don’t mind it being unconstitutional. But now you claim you don’t think it is unconstitutional, which leaves me with the 1st possibility that I should have extended….and its associated assumption.

                      I remember reading them. I also read other analyses arguing that it is not constitutional, which I found more persuasive. I know the idea that you are not the final authority on all matters is unfathomable to you, but try and imagine for one moment that not all credible experts agree with you.

                      Like I said. I think we’re done here. You were wrong in your assessment of his tweet…doubly so. Which simultaneously undermines that comment as it effects your defense of your bigoted assumption that Trump would fall for the Gorilla Channel joke…

                      No, I stand by that assumption 100%. It isn’t bigoted in the slightest. Trump is very dumb, and believes many very dumb things. Challenge that premise. I dare you.

                    • Chris

                      *not unconstitutional

      • OK, call me a geek. I might be willing to believe in the existence of a “Gorilla Channel”, but not in the feed for that, or anything else, being set up to “broadcast from a transmission tower” to the President’s TV.

        • crella

          Like Shark Week! I could see Gorilla Week, sure. But the rest, no way.

          The fact that so many believed this shows the utter contempt with which the President is viewed. The propaganda is taking root. Look at the fake paragraph again…White House staff cobbling video together to appease the President? A specially-built transmission tower? Obviously ridiculous. Trump said the TV was broken because he could not find a channel he wanted? Regardless of what he was supposedly asking for, that’s how a child under 5 reasons. They’re never mistaken, something or someone else must be wrong. An adult says ‘We don’t get the Gorilla Channel?’, they don’t say the TV is broken. Then the White House staffs’ supposed reaction, to try and make a ‘Gorilla channel’. This implies that they can’t say no, he won’t understand. This (entering the other person’s world instead of correcting them) is a frequently-used tactic in redirecting dementia patients (although I don’t know anyone who’s tried to construct a fake TV channel yet). Trump would have to be on a very low IQ level or severely impaired to act like this, not even getting the talking-to-the-TV part of it. That leveled of impairment would’ve been incompatible with having had any kind of a career up until now, and functioning life as an adult.

          People are losing objectivity and reasoning skills, if they can believe something like this.

          • Chris

            White House staff cobbling video together to appease the President? A specially-built transmission tower? Obviously ridiculous.

            I’m with you on the tower, but not on the video. We know—because of leaks to the media—that officials put Trump’s name in intelligence briefs as many times as possible in order to keep him reading:

            https://www.google.com/amp/www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-intelligence-reports-white-house-read-them-mentioned-name-president-a7740726.html%3famp

            That’s not too far from creating a “gorilla channel.” And it’s what I mean when I say Trump is to a large degree responsible for the caricature people have of him. He is, in many ways, a caricature. He is purposefully over the top in so many ways that over the top lies about him have a greater ring of truth to them than they otherwise would. (Still not defending anyone who couldn’t tell it was satire by the end, or who shared it thinking it was true without checking the source.)

            As for your point about dementia…I think it is very possible Trump is suffering from that exact condition.

            • crella

              That article strikes me as ridiculous.

              And no, he hasn’t got dementia. After nearly 20 years in the trenches I know what dementia looks like. Anyone with dementia could not have handled the campaign trail, the speeches, rallies. ADHD is not a far-fetched idea. People of his age were not diagnosed or treated. A short attention span, and lack of short-term memory are not the same thing.

              • Chris

                The Independent’s story comes from Reuters, which is pretty reliable, and they claim the information comes from two National Security Council officials. It’s possible the officials are lying; it’s also possible that the story sounds ridiculous because Donald Trump’s behavior is ridiculous.

                Can you explain what you mean when you say someone with dementia couldn’t handle the campaign trail? What kind of behavior would you expect someone with dementia to display in response to that? I think it would explain much of his bizarre behavior, but it sounds like you know more about his condition than I do.

                • crella

                  “ according to officials close to him

                  Staff members are being forced to strategically include the President’s name in the reports to ensure that he keeps reading and doesn’t get distracted, they said. National Security Council officials make sure “as many paragraphs as we can because he keeps reading if he’s mentioned”, they told Reuters. “

                  I don’t think this means that National Security officials are being quoted here. I read it as an extended quote from the people mentioned in that first paragraph.

                  Dementia reduces short-term memory. Someone with dementia would not be able to continue a narrative within the same rally/meeting, never mind over months of campaigning. He would not be able to keep referring to the same topics over and over in Tweets. Once he addressed something, it would be forgotten. He most definitely does not have dementia. He doesn’t display even the early signs. My money is on ADHD, if there is something wrong with him.

    • “Honestly, I don’t understand how you could expect the media to not report on the book under these circumstances.”

      Oooooo. Nice trick there. But we saw it.

      The complaint isn’t the media reporting ON the book. The complaint is the media publishing excerpts FROM the book as though any of those bits are not worthless tabloid pablum but actual newsworthy topics.

      • Chris

        The Bannon bits were true. Had news agencies chosen to pass on those, they would have missed the chance to report on valid stories.

        • Chris

          And yes, any excerpts from any book that any president tries to legally get blocked from publication are inherently newsworthy. If the president doesn’t want us to be able to read a certain book, then what’s in that book is news.

          • Your ban argument has been debunked. Don’t repeat it here.

            • Chris

              Read better. I did not say “ban” this time, as I know the conservatives here are very pedantic when it comes to that word.

              I said “legally blocked from publication.” Are you seriously going to argue that wasn’t the aim of Trump’s cease-and-desist? You can’t, because it was.

              • And Jack already explained to you, under the thread of your “ban” trope (which is why the term is applicable here) why your reasoning and argument are silly.

                Don’t repeat it here.

                • Chris

                  That’s not even a response. I said Trump was attempting to get the book legally blocked from publication. That is a fact. Jack has provided no rebuttal to that fact, and can’t do so, because it’s a fact.

                  Would you like to try to rebut that fact?

                  • It’s a response. You just don’t like it. Rewording your “ban” argument doesn’t make it less wrong.

                    If it were to go to a court to decide whether or not certain aspects of the book violate any legal matters, then yes, publishing excerpts would sway public opinion and inevitably corrupt any outcome of the court decision.

                    The media’s most solid failure here is in not explicitly couching any reporting of any excerpts in language that clearly denotes the extreme shakiness of any of the claims found in the excerpts.

                    You are confident the media has covered that base enough. It hasn’t…it’s given maybe a slight passing nod to the unreliability of the claims made in the book.

                    Let alone the fact that the media is gleefully distributing excerpts that are blatantly shaky in terms of believability.

                    Why?

                    Because they are acting like tabloids, and here you are endorsing their conduct. You should be ashamed.

                    • Chris

                      Tex, I am going to ask you a simple question.

                      Trump is attempting to get a book legally blocked from publication: True or false?

                      The media’s most solid failure here is in not explicitly couching any reporting of any excerpts in language that clearly denotes the extreme shakiness of any of the claims found in the excerpts.

                      You are confident the media has covered that base enough. It hasn’t…it’s given maybe a slight passing nod to the unreliability of the claims made in the book.

                      I’ve asked for examples of this. You could still provide them.

                    • No, no, you provide examples of the media amply ensuring the viewers that the book has been described by the author as essentially nothing but speculation and sensationalism.

                      I’m not going to try to prove a negative for you. Nice try.

                    • Chris

                      Asking you to show me an article or clip that doesn’t point out the claims in the book are unverified isn’t asking you to prove a negative.

                      I was going to say you moved the goalposts, but then I realize it was Rusty who claimed the news is reporting the book’s claims as “fact.” You’re saying the news should say that “the book has been described by the author as essentially nothing but speculation and sensationalism,” which isn’t even true. Surely there must be a middle ground here.

                      I also note that you didn’t answer my true/false question. I’ll take that to mean you know the answer is “true.”

                    • It’s like you don’t even read Jack’s posts before commenting.

                      And no, my refusal to answer your “True False” question does not mean what you take it to mean, nor does it mean the opposite. I’m not falling for the trick so you can get right back on the “ban” track you claim you are not on.

                    • Chris

                      And no, my refusal to answer your “True False” question does not mean what you take it to mean, nor does it mean the opposite. I’m not falling for the trick so you can get right back on the “ban” track you claim you are not on.

                      Real cute how you think the rules of argumentation don’t apply to you, and your opponents are just supposed to cave and admit they’re wrong when you don’t do shit to explain your position because of…I don’t know, your amazing self-confidence?

                      This was the comment you objected to:

                      And yes, any excerpts from any book that any president tries to legally get blocked from publication are inherently newsworthy. If the president doesn’t want us to be able to read a certain book, then what’s in that book is news.

                      As you’ve given precisely zero reasons to object to this comment, I stand by every word of it. If it’s wrong, demonstrate why it’s wrong. But you won’t. You’ll just keep taking cheap shots.

                    • Mentioning that others have explained this to you is sufficient. Not my problem their arguments don’t get through that thick hate blinded skull of yours.

                    • Chris

                      You could at the very least link to where someone else has explained why it’s wrong to describe Trump’s action as trying to get a book legally blocked from publication.

                      But you won’t. Because that didn’t happen.

                    • There’re only TWO posts on this topic. Don’t be daft.

                    • Chris

                      Link to the comment, Tex.

                      Link to the comment where someone else explained why it was wrong to describe Trump’s action as trying to get a book legally blocked from publication.

                      I can’t find it.

                      Because it doesn’t exist.

                      Your memory is as bad as Trump’s.

                    • There’re TWO posts on this. Don’t be daft.

                    • Chris

                      You’re broken.

                    • Chris

                      You always do this. You refuse to back up your assertions and then when asked to do so, you insist that you already have. When I ask for evidence of this, you resort to sarcasm and condescension, because you have no substance.

                      It’s very tiring.

                      Let me know if the Obamacare analogy above helps you figure out why your “Trump obviously didn’t mean DACA when he said DACA, leftist bigots” stance is irrational spin.

                    • It doesn’t.

                      Because it’s facile.

                      You are tiring in your incessant re-wordings of arguments that have been debunked.

                    • Chris

                      Oh, this is too much.

                      I literally just replaced “DACA” with “Obamacare,” and replaced the descriptions of DACA with descriptions of Obamacare. But the analogy is “facile.” For reasons you won’t explain but definitely have.

                      Hilarious.

                    • Nested as a response directly underneath your facile analogy.

        • You clearly didn’t read a bit of where Jack, et al, have explained to you why if 95% of an account is unbelievable, the 5% that might be believable, CANNOT be believed via that source.

          This is the much touted Steele Dossier all over again. Another topic you embarrassed yourself thoroughly on.

          You sure you want to do this dance again?

        • I don’t even know what this means. Bannon has been regarded as a habitual liar since long before Trump even ran. How do you know what he said is “true”? The fact that a Presidential advisor is shooting off his mouth is news. That doesn’t make anything else in the book news, or more reliable. tex is correct.

          • (Interestingly, Chris believes Bannon now, because, guess what’s changed?

            That’s right!

            Bannon is trashing Trump.

            Chris will believe something that trashes Trump.

            It’s one of life’s easiest math problems.)

            • Chris

              Did you make a special effort to misunderstand what I meant there? I never said I believed Bannon. “The Bannon bits [of the book] are true” means it’s true that Bannon said them.

              • No, you are just especially giddy over the “Bannon bits”, which have already been explained to you why they shouldn’t be given any special mention:

                1) The vast majority of book is basically hoakum.

                2) Bannon, by all attitudes of your ilk, is a liar…well until he started trashing Trump, which makes him a truth teller…as long as he’s trashing Trump.

                • Chris

                  I have no idea why you are repeating a false characterization of my argument after I’ve already corrected it for you.

                  I am not saying Bannon is telling the truth about Trump. I’m saying that the quotes Wolff attributed to Bannon really do come from Bannon.

                  • K. Jack’s already shown you why that has no weight.

                    Keep parroting yourself.

                    • Chris

                      He has not, but keep parroting yourself.

                    • Chris

                      For the record, this is what Jack said:

                      Jack Marshall
                      January 6, 2018 at 12:00 am
                      I don’t even know what this means. Bannon has been regarded as a habitual liar since long before Trump even ran. How do you know what he said is “true”? The fact that a Presidential advisor is shooting off his mouth is news. That doesn’t make anything else in the book news, or more reliable. tex is correct.

                      So he made the same mistake as you, thinking that I meant Bannon was telling the truth. Then he said exactly what I am telling you I meant, which is that “the fact that a presidential advisor is shooting off his mouth is news.” So the fact that Wolff’s Bannon quotes really do come from Bannon does have weight, according to Jack.

                      I’ll wait for your admission that you were wrong.

                    • Chris

                      Ah. I’m partially wrong about Jack’s stance too: he acknowledges that the Bannon quotes are news, but says the rest of it isn’t. I guess that’s what you meant by “that has no weight.”

                      However, he did not demonstrate this, he merely asserted it. If the Bannon quotes are valid—and they are—that adds to the credibility of the rest of the book.

                    • A charitable take on the notion of “adding credibility”.

                      Did you read Jack’s post?

                    • Then it’s a comprehension problem.

                      A bit harder to remedy than it being a literacy problem. But doable.

          • Chris

            I don’t even know what this means. Bannon has been regarded as a habitual liar since long before Trump even ran. How do you know what he said is “true”?

            I don’t. “The Bannon bits are true” means the parts in the book about what Bannon said are true. As in, he said them.

            The fact that a Presidential advisor is shooting off his mouth is news. That doesn’t make anything else in the book news, or more reliable. tex is correct.

            So it’s news that one person from the White House is shooting off his mouth about the president, but not news that dozens of others are? That can’t be right. It is news that the White House is total chaos and that the president has no control or respect from his staff. That’s not the media’s fault. That’s not even Michael Wolff’s fault. You are literally going after the messenger here.

        • crella

          So now what Bannon says counts?

          • Chris

            We already had that argument, crella. I never said Bannon is telling the truth. I said Wolff’s quotes attributed to Bannon do really come from him, and that the quotes are newsworthy regardless of whether they’re true.

  4. Chris

    Yeah, the media definitely shouldn’t cover the book that the president is obsessed with.

    (And yes, covering the book means covering the claims made inside the book, claims which are all the more newsworthy because the president desperately wants us not to know about them. If he had the maturity of your average high schooler he would have said nothing and waited for this to blow over, but instead he’s made the book a bestseller. Shaudenfreude is too mild a word for what I feel at this.)

    • Have you just permanently jettisoned all logic? Is someone publishes a book about me that is full of gossip and insulting nonsense, I would be quite annoyed and conscerned about it. That wouldn’t make the book newsworthy or true. Essentially, you’re channeling the same false logic of “if you te innocent, you have nothing to worry about.” Your version is, “If the book isn’t true, why do you care?” Which is, you know, idiotic and intellectually dishonest.

    • Have you just permanently jettisoned all logic? Is someone publishes a book about me that is full of gossip and insulting nonsense, I would be quite annoyed and conscerned about it. That wouldn’t make the book newsworthy or true. Essentially, you’re channeling the same false logic of “if you te innocent, you have nothing to worry about.” Your version is, “If the book isn’t true, why do you care?” Which is, you know, idiotic and intellectually dishonest.

      • Chris

        Almost every bit of that is either wrong, irrelevant, or non-responsive. He can be concerned all he likes. This is obsession. The president one’s lawyers send frivolous threats to publishing companies is authoritarian, and newsworthy. The president trying to humiliate a former top aide is embarrassing to the whole nation. I have made no argument that Trump’s reaction indicates the book is true. And you are not the president.

        • Chris

          Fourth sentence should say, “The president’s lawyers sending frivolous threats to publishing companies is authoritarian, and newsworthy.”

        • “The president trying to humiliate a former top aide is embarrassing to the whole nation”

          This is actually funny. Any White House aide who comes out and does this deserves to be embarrassed. I doubt that there are future people who either feel sorry for Steve Bannon or who don’t think the President was justified. And future disloyal aides should expect the same from any President. As with every Trump Tweet, more restraint would be nice, but humiliating a serial leaker and self-glorifying creep who turns on the President the second he’s out of power? I’d be embarrassed to have a leaders who didn’t do that.

          • Chris

            I’m referring to the “crying and begging” line. Surely you wouldn’t be embarrassed to have a president who doesn’t talk like that. What Bannon deserves is irrelevant. He deserves that and worse. Still unethical, still petty, still unpresidential, still evidence that something is wrong upstairs.

  5. John Billingsley

    I don’t think the possibility of having a “Gorilla Channel” is so far fetched that it absolutely identifies the parody as a parody. After all we have “Shark Week” and there is the “Animal Planet” channel. I would probably at least occasionally watch a “Gorilla Channel.” I’m with Willem, the idea of setting up a broadcast tower is absolutely hilarious and immediately identifies it as a parody. What? The White House doesn’t have cable?

    My difficulty in understanding all of this is why Trump chose to make the tweet and threaten the suit. I think that Chris and most on the left see him as an impulsive, immature moron who in this case is a well deserved victim of the Streisand effect. At least some of them think him so moronic that they actually believed he watched the “Gorilla Channel” for 17 hours talking to the gorillas believing they could hear him.

    Trump has been a promoter pretty much his entire life, He understands the value of publicity. There is no way with his experience that he could not have known that his tweet would draw attention to the book and make people both more eager to read it and more ready to believe it. He is also a man who has often threatened to sue people and has himself often been the target. It is difficult for me to believe that he did not know that there was no way in hell he could prevent publication and that such a threat would only draw more attention to the book. In this case it produced so much attention that the publisher pushed the release date up to cash in on it.

    Those who are anti-Trump appear to believe that he is a totally clueless, immature, idiot who made the tweet and threatened the lawsuit because he truly believed that it was the best way to protect himself or was just too impulsive not to do it or both. If that actually was the reason, then I would have to agree that he is totally clueless and dumber than a sack of crap to boot. But I would also say that if you play chess and your opponent appears to impulsively offer their queen, you should think long and hard before you take it. Maybe it truly is a stupid move by an unskilled player but maybe it only looks stupid because you are not looking deeply enough and are being suckered in. I can think of absolutely no reason why he would want to promote the book and everyone knows the best response from Trump would have been no response at all. Why then is he giving it publicity, egging those against him into a feeding frenzy to obtain it? Impulsive moron or grand master manipulator?

    • Chris

      Are you familiar with the “Trump is playing 4D chess” meme, John?

      http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/trump-is-playing-4d-chess

      There’s a reason Adams’ theory was widely mocked. There is little evidence that Trump is a master manipulator or even a good negotiator or businessman. He may think he is playing the media but that’s because he doesn’t know the difference between good and bad attention. I genuinely think he has pretty much lucked into almost every major success in his life, including the presidency.

      • John Billingsley

        Thanks. I don’t recall having seen that meme. I think it possible he doesn’t care whether attention is good or bad as long as there is attention. He sends at least some tweets to manipulate people or organizations into making a response, thinking particularly about his jabs at the media. He may not be a master manipulator but he is a manipulator, as is pretty much everyone to one degree or another. I’m not as sure as you that the majority of his success is due strictly to luck but there has to be some luck involved. There is for almost everyone who is successful. But one still has to be prepared to take advantage of the lucky break. Also, starting off with money definitely helps. I’m still left with the question of why he responded to the book the specific way he did. I totally accept that part of it was the fact that he is incapable of not responding when he is challenged in any way but I can’t help but feel that there is more to it than him engaging in a pissing contest.

        My real disappointment is that I am unlikely to live long enough to be able to read the detailed histories that will ultimately appear about this presidency. They will surely be doozies. For now, I am going to console myself by returning to Ron Chernow’s biography of Grant.

    • RWE

      Thank you! Finally!
      Wasn’t his nomination and subsequent election as President a long shot? Isn’t everything he does confusing and baffling? Yet somehow he continues to get the things accomplished he set out to do? All this against opponents who are more eloquent, smarter, and more refined?
      Do you imagine he’s a lottery winner, who just keeps winning? What are the odds?
      He has his opponents continually misdirected and wasting time and energy working for him creating the equivalent of the “gorilla” channel every day.
      In war, a soldiers professional ethics allows him to kill others. I wonder if there are some professional ethical standards that the President is allowed due to the nature of his job which are unethical for those of us without that position.

  6. Sue Dunim

    Any President who appoints someone like Bannon as a National Security Advisor is hopelessly incompetent.
    That’s true regardless of whether what Bannon says is true or false.

    No matter. In the long term, there are two areas where Trump is effecting change that will last for generations.

    One is in the destruction of the State Department. It takes decades to replace competent diplomats. That Trump hasn’t bothered nominating an ambassador to Australia for example is no big deal, they’re political appointments, and snubs like that are just silly games. The time se few and chairwarmers are still at their posts.
    But forcing out trade and cultural officials, those with competence, has led to some Australian companies eating the US’s lunch. Australia is now looking at military alliances with China. The US has the muscle, but not the brain any more.
    It’s too late to stop and reverse this. Competence, once lost like this, takes decades to regain.
    Foreign countries aren’t complaining – England’s Misfortune is Ireland’s Opportunity. It’s something of a relief to have one’s main trade opponent, one with a well-earned reputation for guile and cunning, unilaterally disarm like this.

    Second, there is the packing of the Federal Judiciary with Political Reliables at all levels. Bipartisanship is nonexistent, and while Roy Moore hasn’t been nominated to the SCOTUS – all those on the list are competent – that’s not true at lower levels.
    I suspect the Democrats will just expand the judiciary and do their own packing with political bloggers too, just as biased, but to the Left. Ramming them through with no attempt at discussion, in an orgy of rubber stamping.
    I’m not sure the Judicial system will survive this one-two blow with any credibility left.
    This process is being resisted, not least within the GOP. While nominations of political commissars are proceeding at what would normally be considered breakneck speed, there are still so many open positions, that the process will take years unless sped up dramatically. Instead of 15 minutes to vet 5 nominees, it has to be 5 minutes to assess 15.

    What hasn’t happened is the use of anti terrorism powers to imprison opponents. The powers are there, but have remained unused, and at this stage, it is most unlikely they’re going to be used.

    • What a nice, rich, mixed up post.

      Any President who appoints someone like Bannon as a National Security Advisor is hopelessly incompetent.
      That’s true regardless of whether what Bannon says is true or false.

      Bannon was not appointed to that position. His title was White House Chief Strategist. In this capacity, he attended the Principals Committee of the U.S. National Security Council from January 28, 2017[4] to April 5, 2017, less than 4 months. Where id you get THAT fake news?

      One is in the destruction of the State Department.

      That’s a opinionated characterization stated as a fact. Also hysterical. Reducing staff and budget is not destruction. It may be responsible. We shall see.

      ” Competence, once lost like this, takes decades to regain.”

      Hysteria.

      Second, there is the packing of the Federal Judiciary with Political Reliables at all levels. Bipartisanship is nonexistent, and while Roy Moore hasn’t been nominated to the SCOTUS – all those on the list are competent – that’s not true at lower levels.

      The Democrats started the packing in earnest under Obama.Thus we ended up with hacks like the Hawaii judge and others who used criteria to ding Trump travel order that would never be used with any other POTUS. Democrats also have patented using the courts to get around laws and elections. Harry Reid openend the door for this by killing the filibuster. Obama let him do it. They handed Trump the weapon they wielded themselves, and Trump’s the villain for using it? Yes, it’s bad. Unilateral use of it by one party would be worse.

      What hasn’t happened is the use of anti terrorism powers to imprison opponents. The powers are there, but have remained unused, and at this stage, it is most unlikely they’re going to be used.

      Again, tell-tale hysteria and derangement. There are no laws in the US that could or would be used to imprison “opponents.” You forfeit credibility by making such assertions.

      • You let Pseudonym off easy.

        If you ever run most of her comments parallel to each other, you’ll notice a consistent format she runs with:

        Poetic language to describe current political problems in terms which afford themselves the widest margins of interpretation, so that she can technically be correct in her descriptions, while including the worst possible interpretations.

        After “elucidating” in these “problems”, she then includes a final, unrelated paragraph about some potential horrifying future that somehow we’ve been lucky to avoid but MY GOD the current administration COULD cause that future.

  7. luckyesteeyoreman

    Wolff is a fabulist. I have an ex-in-law to thank for recognizing that, because that ex-in-law was (and is) a fabulist, too. I read the ex-in-law’s writings beginning back in the 1960s, which I quickly recognized (even in my youth) as wishful thinking, flourished into “truth” about history. I read the ex-in-law’s writings even today (writing is all he knows how to do), and see the same fabulism. He has never changed. For all I know, he has tutored Wolff.

    It isn’t anything specific in the texts of Wolff’s book that have been “leaked” so far, that exposes the fabulism. It’s the whole thing. That is the trick of the fabulist’s trade. To weave a story so captivating, so titillating, so provocative of “can you believe THIS?! reactions from so many readers, that healthy skepticism defenses are dropped, and actual belief in the story starts to set in.

    I personally practiced fabulism, once. Back in the 1990s, I wrote an account of what a small unit of Union troops experienced during the War Against Secession (“Civil War”), as if it was a long-lost, first-hand account that had been documented by one of those troops. Though I never tried to sell it, I did show it to another writer with whom I was corresponding at the time. Her reaction was not unexpected; clearly, she didn’t like my competitiveness. (I suspect she didn’t like the text’s believability, either.)

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