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Here's What We Don't Get From Yet Another Book 'Exposing' Donald Trump

September 8, 2018 in Blogs

By The Conversation

Do we really need to hear more about Donald Trump’s behavior?

If anyone is surprised by the portrait of president Donald Trump in investigative journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, they’ve been living under a log. The way Trump treats women, immigrants, children, and the press is clearly beyond the pale, but it’s also well-established. So it pays to ask what yet another long tale of Trump’s transgressions can do for society – and for journalism.

Do we really need to hear more about Donald Trump’s behavior? What is there that we don’t already know? And what has anyone, including the media, done with this knowledge anyway?

The much-anticipated release of this tell-all by Woodward, who together with Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate story, has predictably sent the press and everyone across the US political spectrum into tremors of excitement. This latest work of political insiderdom has provided the mainstream media with “scoops” – that is, offered up a clutch of juicy quotes to journalists who’ve read select excerpts from the nearly 450-page book.

The Huffington Post’s list of outré comments allegedly made by the president, deftly titled “The Wildest Things About Trump From Bob Woodward’s New Book”, includes illuminating snippets such as Trump’s alleged mocking of attorney general Jeff Sessions’ accent: “This guy is mentally retarded. He’s this dumb Southerner … He couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama.”

Other accounts excerpted by HuffPo touch on more serious topics. Following Trump’s statement that “both sides” were responsible for the violence at an August 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Woodward reports that “advisers urged him to make another speech condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis”. According to Woodward, after Trump made the speech “he almost immediately told aides, ‘That was the biggest fucking mistake I’ve made’ and the ‘worst speech I’ve ever given’”.

These sorts of remarks are clearly unedifying to say the least. But the matter of whether or not people love or hate them – and, more importantly, the ideas behind them – is not changed or …read more


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