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The Wolff in the Fold

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There's a telling point, early on in the classic cyberpunk comic Transmetropolitan, where outlaw journalist Spider Jerusalem explains why he's able to find dirt on people so easily:

"What we're doing here is called investigative journalism. Time was, it'd take months, years even, to nail your story through investigative journalism. Today it takes a matter of hours. You know why? Not because we are fantastically advanced. Not because we are generally cleverer than f*ck.

"But because nobody does investigative journalism anymore. So NO ONE EXPECTS IT."

Michael Wolff is no Spider Jerusalem. He is, by all accounts, the sort of person who takes a situation and describes its proceedings in a highly edited manner, perhaps to make for better reading. He's been accused of making quotes out of whole cloth, inventing entire scenarios, and not quite telling the whole truth in order to reveal a deeper, more fundamental truth.

(Dan Rather lost his job for less, in case you're wondering)

Wolff is, however, the author of a book that's hotter than a sinner's butt in Hell, right now. Fire and Fury has essentially blown the lid off the inner working of Trumpf's administration, revealing the sloppy, chaotic mess it's been since before he even took up residence.

I won't repeat the details here. Doubtless you've been reading up on some of the more outrageous details. You probably have your favorites. I know I sure do.

(As for the Gorilla Channel canard -- what does it say that, for a brief moment in time, many of us actually found that strangely plausible?)

But the real story here isn't necessarily the revelation that Der Trumpenfuhrer not only didn't expect to win, but didn't want to. Or that Steve Bannon has his own, very off-the-ranch ideas about that meeting with the Russians. Or even that housekeeping can't touch his toothbrush because they might poison him.

No -- the real story is that no one in the White House was canny enough to tell people that the sleazy-looking slaphead on the couch, sitting around listening to everyone and everything, was not to be trusted.

How did he get in? Some say Steve Bannon himself was to blame for that -- maybe seeking out fellow barn-burners in the hope of kickstarting the anti-establishment revolution he seems so pathologically keen on. And Wolff did write a flattering piece on him, not long after the election, just like he did for Kellyanne Conway.

Others say he just charmed his way into 45's armpit, and -- thanks to some recent good press he'd given the Stable Genius in Chief, and his attacks on the anti-Trump media -- got a special badge to be in the West Wing.

Either way, someone should have noticed him, sitting on that couch and watching the goings on with those beady little eyes of his. Someone should have remembered that he used to write smack about the President before he started his charm offensive.

And someone should have put two and two together, and realized what was going on.

So someone should have told people not to talk to him at all, or at least not on the record. Someone should have told people not to later change their minds about things being on the record. Someone should have told them to look out for a tape recorder, or notes.

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J. Edward Tremlett is a lot of things, currently. He's back in the states after a seven-year stint in Dubai, UAE. He's been published in such diverse places as The American Partisan, the International American, The End is Nigh, Pyramid Magazine (more...)

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