Well, well, well, turns out even Michael Wolff, author of the “Fire and Fury” book that has sparked such national discussion about the Donald Trump White House, admits that not everything he wrote is true.
In his prologue, Wolff writes, as Business Insider noted: “Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are boldly untrue. These conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book.”
In other words: Take with a grain of salt, Dear Reader, what you read.
So why did Wolff include the maybe-maybe not true statements?
“Sometimes,” he wrote, “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.”
Of course, that belief may be misplaced — and voila, a little untruth is born. But it’s up to the reader to decide. Or, the anti-Trump media and Democratic Party “Impeach Trump” crowd, as the case may be.
The White House has fought back hard against some of the most damaging statements attributed to sources in this book, saying they’re blatantly untrue and threatening to sue both author and publisher for defamation.
Trump himself tweeted, “I authorized Zero access to White House (I actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve [Bannon]!”
And this latest review from Business Insider seems to give wings to at least part of the White House’s view of things.
“The book itself, reviewed by Business Insider from a copy acquired prior to publication, is not always clear about what level of confidence the author has in any particular assertion,” Business Insider says. “Lengthy, private conversations are reported verbatim, as are difficult-to-ascertain details like what somebody was thinking or how they felt.”
At the same time, Axios is reporting Wolff has dozens of hours of audio tape recordings that support his writings. And Wolff himself has stated, post-publication of his book, that he stands by his reporting and that he has no fear of losing a defamation suit.
Meanwhile, there’s this, from Amazon: 42 customer reviews, just hours after the release of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” for a solid 4.5 point rating. And already, the book’s scored the #1 Best Seller in Books tag. Lesson learned?
Controversy, much more than truth, sells.
Cheryl Chumley may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.