Fire and Fury book chronicles Trump’s first year with red-hot stories.
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House was supposed to be another political book without making a blip on the radar. Book sellers ordered modestly with the impending release. After excerpts were released, one thing became abundantly clear: juicy stories trump everything.
“When you write a book like this, people regret what they said to me,” author Michael Wolff said about Fire and Fury. “What they say to any reporter who they relax with and they forget who they’re talking to, I have sympathy for that, and I think the natural response is to say, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t say it.’ But I will tell you, they said it.”
In one day, Fire and Fury sold out across retailers everywhere. The tell-all has become a must-read, now topping best seller lists. What fueled its popularity? Tabloid-like stories and an attempt to block access to readers.
“When the unexpected trend — Trump might actually win — seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he called him, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Melania, to whom Donald Trump had made his solemn guarantee, was in tears — and not of joy.”
Excerpts like this, and many others detailing incompetence within the administration and brazen quotes from the administration’s inner circle, prompted President Trump’s response. He called his lawyer. They sent a cease and desist letter to the publisher and author, citing libelous and defamatory language.
With a release date days away, publisher Henry Holt and Co. and Wolff chose to move up the release date by four days; making sure to attribute the release to Trump’s actions.
Here we go. You can buy it (and read it) tomorrow. Thank you, Mr. President.
— Michael Wolff (@MichaelWolffNYC) January 4, 2018
The book’s release was unexpected; selling out quickly everywhere.
“We had 84 on hand this morning and sold out within minutes,” said Sarah Costello, a spokeswoman for Politics & Prose in Washington said to Vanity Fair.
Although the book’s popularity is driven by controversy, one of the biggest controversies is the author himself. Wolf’s credibility is questioned.
“I believe parts of it and then there are other parts that are factually wrong,” New York Times White House Correspondent Maggie Haberman said on CNN on the morning of the book’s release. “I can see several places in the book that are wrong. So for instance, he inaccurately describes a report in the New York Times. He inaccurately characterizes a couple of incidents that took place early on in the administration. He gets basic details wrong.”
Wolff’s potentially shady journalistic past was documented by the Washington Post. The Post chronicled claims of misquoting, incorrect reporting, and complete fiction.
Yet, amidst questions of credible reporting, there are some who authenticate portions of the book.
“[T]he impression conveyed by “Fire and Fury” is true to both the man and what we have experienced, together, since he campaigned and then took office. It sketches the outline that will no doubt be filled in by future events and accounts, and is thus essential reading,” Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio wrote in an op-ed.
D’Antionio anecdotally authenticates Wolff’s stories of Trump’s denigration of women, disinterest in information briefings, and insistence of personal loyalty from others. The biographer points out portions harder to verify because of sourcing, like former FBI Director James Comey was a “rat” and should have been fired.
Fact or fiction? Readers don’t seem to care – they just want to read the juicy details.
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