In our moment, facts are negotiable, but the Narrative is not. And therein lies a problem for those whose narrative depends on trashing Le Grand Orange. And the smarter observers know it. Behold Alex Shepard, writing for The New Republic:
There is value in publishing a larger, contextualized account of the Trump White House. There is nothing to be gained, however, from reporting information about Trump that can’t be locked down. Wolff’s recklessness fuels the Trump administration’s critique of journalists and the media. It suggests that journalists really are out to get the president—after all, in Fire and Fury, Wolff suggests that journalists will print anything, so long as it casts Trump in a bad light. The rewards are clear: His cavalier reporting has led to TV bookings, a #1 Amazon bestseller, and insane traffic for any of the outlets that agreed to publish his work.
So we're clear, "contextualized" means conforming with the larger Narrative. But in the marketplace of ideas, narratives compete, and Shepard understands that the Trumpian narrative of "fake news" works precisely because of the elements of truth to it. Trust that the MSM are honest brokers has been steadily eroded for nearly two generations. Even the sacred and heroic work of Woodward and Bernstein now is better understood as a couple of errand boys carrying the water of a disgruntled bureaucrat, Mark Felt, who wanted a job he didn't get.
It all works in Trump's favor. So will this book, despite the surface legal maneuverings and "cease and desist" letters flying around like bullets in the funhouse:
We have produced a generation or two of post-structuralists who now run our institutions. The game has always been the same -- take the meaning out of the existing structure, then claim its vacant imprimatur. What many of us who were earnestly NeverTrump didn't understand is something that should have been obvious, and now is in retrospect; it takes a bullshitter to call out the bullshitters. In a world where, to borrow a phrase from a cynical Reagan-era song, crap is king, it's increasingly clear the guy who's been in the business longest will prevail, especially when his adversaries consistently underestimate his intelligence.