At this point, it should be a given that MSM reporting on President Trump and his allies deserves to be immediately second-guessed.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post revealed background information about author Michael Wolff, whose upcoming book provoked a feud between President Trump and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.
Wolff, a regular contributor to USA Today and Hollywood Reporter, quoted Bannon as making disparaging remarks about President Trump and his family in the book “Fire and Fury,” an inside look at the Trump administration that was excerpted at some outlets.
Post reporter Paul Fahri described him as 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.”
The piece also said the “Fire and Fury” author “has been accused of not just recreating scenes in his books and columns, but of creating them wholesale.”
Among the controversial Bannon quotes found in the book are remarks about Donald Trump, Jr.’s meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 election.
“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s**t, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately,” Wolff quoted Bannon as saying.
Fahri noted that Wolff’s “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.”
The article described one occasion in which “Wolff kept his bankers at bay by fabricating a story about his father-in-law having open-heart surgery.”
In another piece, Post senior reporter Aaron Blake said that “Wolff has taken some of the most gossiped-about aspects of the Trump White House and put them forward as fact — often plainly stated fact without even anonymous sources cited.”
“For whatever reason, Wolff seems to have arrived at a stunning amount of incredible conclusions that hundreds of dogged reporters from major newspapers haven’t. Whether that’s because he had unprecedented access — Wolff says he had “something like a semi-permanent seat on a couch in the West Wing” — or because his filter was just more relaxed than others, it’s worth evaluating each claim individually and not just taking every salacious thing said about the White House as gospel.”
One of the most notable inconsistencies “Fire and Fury” is Wolff’s assertion that President Trump did not know who former House Speaker John Boehner was–even though the president referenced Boehner multiple times on the campaign trail.
President Trump and the former House Speaker golfed together years before the New York billionaire entered politics.
Claims of President Trump not knowing who John Boehner was, when they’ve known each other for a long time, are 100% FALSE! pic.twitter.com/D0iDXvpxbx
— Dan Scavino🇺🇸🦅 (@DanScavino) January 4, 2018
The excerpts from Wolff’s book prompted President Trump to condemn Bannon in an official White House statement.
“Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look,” the president said of the Breitbart chairman. “Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base—he’s only in it for himself.”
Donald Trump, Jr. also fired back at Bannon, calling him an “opportunist.”
Steve had the honor of working in the White House & serving the country. Unfortunately, he squandered that privilege & turned that opportunity into a nightmare of backstabbing, harassing, leaking, lying & undermining the President. Steve is not a strategist, he is an opportunist
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 3, 2018
It may be wise to let the facts settle before satisfying liberals with intra-party fighting.