Jonathan Martin, Political Correspondent for The New York Times, has offered fact-checking and observations for anyone reading Michael Wolff’s Trump book, Fire and Fury (see link below).
On Friday, I tried to buy a hardcover copy from an indie bookseller in my neighborhood and learned every copy in the store was either sold or on reserve. I fell back on Kindle’s electronic edition, and hoped to find time to read it during the weekend.
No such luck. I’ll still read the book, but will do so carefully. Jonathan Martin’s review provides guidance on why critical thinking is more important than absorbing claims that support your opinions. Yes, Donald Trump and his sycophants are disgraceful, and they don’t belong in power. No, that doesn’t mean we should believe every negative thing that’s written about them. Many of us reacted that way in high school, when we heard nasty gossip about classmates we disliked. We were gullible then, and now our behavior should reflect more experience.
If you read Fire and Fury, give some thought to loyal Republicans who never question Ann Coulter’s claims. People with more sophistication may fall into the same trap with a gossipy read that trashes The Donald. Use your head, look for documentation, and when the documentation isn’t satisfactory accept what you don’t know.
This book was destined to be a bestseller, but not necessarily destined to chronicle every detail we need on the Worst Presidential Administration Ever. Mr. Martin points out errors and omissions that should prevent Fire and Fury from being treated as a scholarly work or responsible journalism.
The formula was there to sell this book to a lot of readers, and the publisher knew it. Last week the top people at Henry Holt & Company decided the hype was energetic enough to move up the release date by four days, which proves that Donald Trump doesn’t always act in his own best interest by threatening to sue.
There are two words to remember when reading this book: According to Jonathan Martin, one of Mr. Wolff’s favorite expressions is Liberal Catnip. Is that something to associate with journalistic integrity?