'Fire And Fury' Whips Media Into A Frenzy

Jan 5, 2018

The Washington D.C. media is going nuts over a new book about President Donald Trump, starting when an excerpt was released just a few days ago.

Cable and network news shows have been talking nearly non-stop about Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” partly because it centers on extensive interviews with the former senior presidential advisor Steve Bannon.

“More than 300 pages of back-biting, gossip and palace intrigue and on-the-record quotes billed as an insider account of Donald Trump’s chaotic transition from unlikely candidate to even unlikelier President of the United States,” MSNBC Host Joy Reid shared at on Wednesday. 

Kelly McBride with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies said the entire journalism world seems fixated on this book for several reasons. The first is that the publisher smartly released a sensational excerpt that elicited a lot of attention and even a scathing statement from Trump himself.

“That’s what you do when you want to make a big splash and gin up book sales,” she said.

She said it’s important to note that Wolff – a New York-based journalist whose work has been widely published in a lot of national and international media - had incredible access to the White House over the past year. But he’s not a part of the Washington political media establishment.

Instead, he was there most often as the guest of Bannon, who left the White House inner circle this past summer amid turmoil. This book should not be mistaken for political journalism, McBride said.

“Michael Wolff has a history of recreating scenes from his reporting, and in doing so, enhancing them in a way that almost makes them a dramatization,” she said.

This book is yet another example of the media spending their energy on politics and not policy. McBride said she expects the stories with this book will continue to be a distraction and the media will be chasing it.

“It’s the President of the United States and the claims that are made in the book are absolutely astonishing,’’ she said.