Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff's new book about the first year of the Donald Trump White House, has taken the internet by storm. It includes some stunning claims and explosive quotes from former Trump aides, most prominently Steve Bannon, whose comments to Wolff have prompted President Trump to start calling him "Sloppy Steve" (a phrase that has a NSFW pre-existing entry in Urban Dictionary).
"Sloppy Steve" pic.twitter.com/KYuFzkixdp
— Dustin (@DustinGiebel) January 5, 2018
Trump's lawyers tried to squash the book with a cease and desist letter, which only led the publisher to move the release date up to today.
they definitely boosted book sales https://t.co/WiGQqfxsge
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) January 5, 2018
Some bookstores in Washington, D.C., even held midnight releases.
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) January 5, 2018
Journalists pored over the book looking for scoops, pranksters on Twitter had fun passing around fake stories, like the one from @pixelatedboat about Trump demanding a 24-hour gorilla TV network.
tfw you parody a guy making up shit about Trump but people believe it so you become part of the problem
— the gorilla channel thing is a joke (@pixelatedboat) January 5, 2018
As Peter Suderman noted here earlier today, the fake stories illustrated the propensity of some Trump critics to believe nearly anything about him that they see being shared on Twitter.
Fire and Fury is my favorite new fanfic of all time and there isn't even (please god) any sex in it
— Steph Arnold-Chamberlain-Oxlade-Alexander.M (@epic_skyline) January 3, 2018
"It would be a mistake, I think, to simply dismiss Wolff's book as a work of pure fiction or baseless speculation," Suderman continued. "Yet it's also worth approaching any individual story or event it describes with some amount of skepticism."
interesting approach to journalism pic.twitter.com/NxKzPry4M1
— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) January 5, 2018
Wolff, for his part, insists his book is accurate and says he recorded many of his interviews. Whether his sources' claims are accurate, and what additional work he might have done to corroborate them, remain unclear.
Wolff: "My credibility is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than, perhaps, anyone who has ever walked on earth at this point."
— David Wright (@DavidWright_CNN) January 5, 2018
Pointing out that you have more credibility than Donald Trump not the most compelling defense. While the entire affair is boosting book sales, it may also end up making it more difficult to treat the book seriously.
Omg the craziest part of Fire and Fury is where it explains how by turning an election into a sporting event and giving Trump billions in free airtime, constantly airing his rallies live the media and journalists are complicit in his rise. Amazing.
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) January 5, 2018
Fire and Fury is currently at the top of Amazon.com's bestseller list.