On Saturday, during a four-person panel on CNN, Brian Stelter told Fredricka Whitfield that "Fire and Fury," Michael Wolff’s new book about the Trump administration, "holds up" even though there are "errors ... in the text."
The exchange began when Whitfield said, "And I wonder, Brian, if some people will kind of excuse that away because of so much of what’s written ... really does seem in step with some of the behavior that’s already been exhibited. And so there may be some factual errors. Does it mean that there will be some readers ... who will say, okay, you may have gotten some of this stuff wrong, but so much of it sounds familiar or possible?"
I think if people have doubts about the book, they should go out and read it for themselves, and that includes the White House aides that have tried to demean the book and call it all fiction. Journalists do and should hold each other to high standards, and that's why there's disappointment about the errors that are in the text, but the book itself does hold up.
And when you hear the White House trying to trash the book, we have to remember what a low standard they have for credibility and accuracy. This is a White House that gets the facts wrong on an almost daily basis. President Trump made several false claims just in his Camp David event a couple hours ago. So, they've got a very low standard, even though we have to maintain high standards, and I think that's the bottom line with this book.
Stelter later tweeted the following:
Stelter’s colleague at CNN, Jake Tapper, tweeted back:
Encouraging one’s audience to read a book that contains a number of verifiable errors simply because it "rings true" isn’t much different from encouraging them to consume unverified gossip because it reflects an existing narrative. Tapper correctly called out Stelter in that regard.