Fire and Fury: Access, integrity and mainstream media

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Copies of Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House are flying off the shelves. The book reportedly saw near 30,000 copies sold in the first two days of its release, with author Michael Wolff set to make millions of dollars in profit from multiple sales mediums. However, Wolff’s approach to sourcing and the facts has left much to be desired from a journalistic standpoint; a fact that has not whet the American mainstream media’s continued obsession with a spectacle they did much to create.

“This particular book is the kind of presidential history that this particular president deserves. The calamity of this particular president has generated a kind of journalism which is not predicated on the politics of substance, but in the politics of subterfuge and show,” says Hamid Dabashi, a professor at Columbia University. “There is nothing in this book that actually addresses the fundamental issues of this presidency but actually banks on a kind of sensationalism that now is extended into the formation of a book, just between two covers.”

The media has also been reluctant to discuss certain Trump-related information, such as reports of the POTUS potentially suffering from dementia; a story that wasn’t published until Wolff’s book hit the shelves. 

“Early on some journalists decided to sacrifice their integrity for, for access. Wolff kind of had the same idea, he went in there to do access journalism, and then realised he would burn his bridges at the end of this by publishing the results,” offers writer Sarah Kendzior as an explanation.

“And so I think that if anything we should be having a broader conversation about what the purpose of access journalism is in a government that wants to essentially function as an autocracy, a government that routinely attacks the press and threatens journalists.”

Contributors:

Pete Vernon, Columbia Journalism Review
John Ziegler, columnist, Mediaite
Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University
Sarah Kendzior, writer

Source: Al Jazeera

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