Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury’ elicits praise and controversy

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On Jan. 5, author Michael Wolff released his book ‘Fire and Fury’ on Jan. 5 which accounts for previously unknown information on Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. Even before the work’s release, it quickly became the top seller on Amazon as well as Barnes and Nobles. However, as with all popular works, the publication is not without controversy – while many have praised Wolff for his uncensored approach regarding Trump, some have also criticized the sensationalist contents of his writing.

“I feel like the book is interesting because although I have never harbored positive feelings toward Trump and his presidency, I never had any access to information that would consolidate this fact,” said Gordon Kim (10). “Wolff’s book gives testimonies and accounts of people that were in Trump’s inner circle. This book is definitely a must-read among my group of friends.”

However, according to CBS, some critique the validity of Wolff’s sources. Wolff has admitted that a lot of the accounts of Trump mismatch, therefore prompting him to write a version of events that he believed to be true. According to Washington Post, for example, Wolff constantly mixed up Washington Post reporter Mark Berman and lobbyist Mike Berman.

“I think it is possible that Wolff may have disregarded some accounts and testimonies that did not fit in with his overall narrative,” said Yeobin Yoon (12). “Little inaccuracies may add up and detract from the credibility of the book as a whole. However, Wolff must also be given credit for undertaking such a daunting task: criticizing the incumbent president through thorough investigation.”

Perhaps in response to the skyrocketing public interest in the book, WikiLeaks uploaded a virtual manuscript online for all viewers to download and access hours before its release date. According to The Guardian, controversy lies within the intent behind the organization’s decision to release the manuscript. Furthermore, whereas the purported intent behind the organization claims to be to promote transparency within the government, uploading a pirated version of the book yielded no such result. Some, according to CNN, suspect that pro-Trump officials or supporters released the book in order to damage the book sales.

“To be honest, I do not really understand WikiLeaks’ motive for releasing the pirated copy,” said Yoon Lim (11). “In my opinion, I think that WikiLeaks is promoting a type of soft censorship, by eliminating some of the potential customer base for the publishers. This action is clearly one of copyright infringement, both for those that shared the book online and those that downloaded a free copy using the link.”

Despite the controversies, Wolff hopes that his book provides people with more insight into the inner workings of the Trump administration. Furthermore, Trump’s misconducts paint a larger picture about the potential failings of the presidency as a whole. Overall, Wolff aims to help bypass the secrecy of the administration and give more power to the people as per the notion of democracy.

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Jina Kim

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