January 9, 2018

I don’t want to waste too much time on the nonsensical TDS fantasy novel “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff (or as writer Judi McLeod dubbed him, “Wolfman Hack.”) But the media can’t stop talking about it. For instance, George Stephanopoulos kept asking our UN Ambassador Nikki Haley about that book instead of Iran, even after she said she hadn’t read it and had no intention of doing so and called it a “new low” for lying to obtain money and power.

So I thought I’d just do a quick round-up of the latest headlines relating to it and get it over with. First up, Steve Bannon has apparently realized it wasn’t a good idea for his future career prospects to rant about his ex-boss and his family to a notorious partisan muckraker, and he embarked on an apology tour.

The book’s smear of Trump is so over-the-top and badly sourced that even reporters at CNN are skeptical of it. Let me repeat: CNN!

WikiLeaks threw a dirty sock in the publisher’s punch bowl by posting a free PDF of the book on the Internet, potentially undermining plans to sell millions of copies before people realized what a turkey it was. The publisher immediately tried to stop this. Ironic, since they were gleeful in defying President Trump’s cease-and-desist letter, but soon had legal eagles rushing to warn that you’d better cease and desist from downloading it because anyone who does could face a $150,000 fine for copyright infringement. Questionable, but not worth the risk. If the fine were 15 cents, it wouldn’t be worth it. If you care about honesty and integrity, don’t download the book illegally for free. Or pay for it legally.

The number of claims of misquotes and patently false assertions in the book are mounting by the minute (one of my favorites: it suggests that Trump is a moron who didn’t know John Boehner, “the Speaker of the House until he was forced out in a Tea Party putsch in 2011” – except that Trump did know Boehner and the book got it wrong: he became Speaker in 2011 and left in 2015. How big a moron does that make the author?)

But the media will just discount protests by Trump friends, staffers and supporters. So here are a couple by people who don’t fit any of those categories. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says a claim that he “blew off” a meeting with Trump to get a haircut “never happened,” and Wolff didn’t even bother to check with him to verify it.

If you think even McConnell is too close to Trump to trust, then how about former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, certainly no MAGA cap wearer? Blair told the BBC that aside from the fact that he has, indeed, met Jared Kushner, everything the book says about him (that he suggested British intelligence was spying on Trump’s campaign, he was angling for a job from Trump, etc.) is a “complete fabrication, literally from beginning to end.”

Trump-hating liberal billionaire Tom Steyer is blowing a lot of money that could do some good for the world on a quixotic campaign to impeach Donald Trump. His latest waste of cash that could’ve bought food for the homeless or paid heating bills for the elderly is purchasing 535 copies of “Fire and Fury” to be delivered to all the members of the House and Senate. This despite the fact that the Democrats have probably all read it already, and the Republicans have no interest since they actually have work to do.

In the interest of good manners, though, they should all send a thank-you note to Steyer. It’s pretty chilly in Washington this week, and as the book’s title suggests, it would make for some handy fireplace tinder.

Finally, Eddie Scarry in the Washington Examiner compares the book’s depiction of Trump as a mentally befuddled, possibly illiterate dementia patient with the many examples of him giving interviews, press conferences and hour-long speeches, some from TelePrompters and some entirely off-the-cuff. He asks the question nobody in the press seems curious about: “Why hasn’t Michael Wolff’s ‘Dementia Trump’ Ever Been Seen in Public?” (Having campaigned with the man and interviewed him in-depth for the debut of my TBN TV show, I can say I haven’t spotted him.) Scarry arrives at an inescapable conclusion that says nothing good about the modern state of journalism: reporters and pundits “don’t believe it because they know it’s true. They believe it because they want it to be.”

Dare I point out that believing in patently false things just because you want them to be true sounds like a form of mental illness. And now, let us hope these are the last pixels I’ll have to waste writing about this.

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