According to many people who would know, including many on the Left, Wolff has a reputation as a fabulist. The ultimate effect of his book may be something very different from what he intends. It may end up helping Donald Trump prove that the fake news media is conducting a witch trial against him. Some on the Left are worried this book may harm their desperate attempts to drive Trump from the White House.
Fire and Fury Signifying Nothing
The following is not from the conservative media nor from any Republican supporter of Donald Trump. It’s from Paul Farhi, the Washington Post’s liberal media reporter.
A provocateur and media polemicist, Wolff has a penchant for stirring up an argument and pushing the facts as far as they’ll go, and sometimes further than they can tolerate, according to his critics. He has been accused of not just re-creating scenes in his books and columns, but of creating them wholesale.
Wolff, for example, writes that Thomas Barrack Jr., a billionaire friend of Trump’s, told a friend that Trump is “not only crazy, he’s stupid.” Barrack on Wednesday denied to a New York Times reporter that he ever said such a thing.
Katie Walsh, a former White House adviser, has also disputed a comment attributed to her by Wolff, that dealing with Trump was “like trying to figure out what a child wants.”
Wolff, 64, has said his book was based on 200 interviews with White House and campaign staffers, including Bannon. He didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.
His reliability has been challenged before — over quotes, descriptions and general accounts he’s provided in his many newspaper and magazine columns and in several books. Wolff has even acknowledged that he can be unreliable.
New Republic columnist Andrew Sullivan accused Wolff of putting words in his mouth when Wolff wrote in 2001 that Sullivan “believes that he is the most significant gay public intellectual in America today.” Sullivan said he never made any such claim.
Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show today that he read many passages from Wolff’s book that quote people to whom Rush had spoken to in the past. According to Rush, Wolff quotes people saying things the exact opposite of what they have in the past said to Rush.
I understand that Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard is giddy over Wolff’s book. Kristol should be careful. He may end up looking even more of a fool than he already does.