Even many reporters from liberal publications are questioning the veracity of Michael Wolff’s book of gossip, Fire and Fury. The latest such person who reveals just how laughable the vetting process of Wolff’s book was is Mark Berman, a reporter at the Washington Post. Wolff placed Berman among others attending a breakfast at the Four Seasons restaurant with Ivanka Trump. It turns out that Berman was most definitely not there and he had a very good reason for not attending as he revealed to anchor Fredricka Whitfield on CNN Newsroom on Saturday.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD:Michael Wolff is under fire himself after several errors have been pointed out from a variety of people, from the White House on down, in his book. One of them namely the appearance of The Washington Post reporter Mark Berman. Well, his name appeared in this book as being somebody at a breakfast at the Four Seasons in Washington, D.C. Well, now that Washington Post reporter is actually saying he wasn’t there at the Four Seasons and why is he in that book anyway? Mark Berman is with us now, a Washington Post national reporter. So, Mark, the context in which you understand your name came up in this Fire and Fury is what?
MARK BERMAN: A colleague actually told me about it yesterday, a colleague e-mailed me to see if I was aware that I was mentioned in the book and then to ask if I had any notes about this breakfast at the Four Season I was mentioned as attending. And I was confused because as I told my colleague not only was I not at this breakfast but I was never at the Four Seasons in DC.
WHITFIELD: Okay and then you read the excerpt or it was brought to your attention. What was your initial reaction?
BERMAN: I was a little befuddled, I’m not going to lie. We spent a few minutes in the newsroom trying to figure out who it could have been. We debated well it could have been another reporter named Mark from the Post, we have another one. We weren’t sure for a little while. After I tweeted a screen shot of this section of the book listing me, Alex Burns from the New York Times, he suggested that maybe it was Mike Berman, a lobbyist, a very well-known lobbyist in D.C. And I e-mailed him and he confirmed he was there that day.
And here is Mark Berman’s tweet with the screen shot of Wolff’s erroneous section:
Now back to Berman’s interview revealing yet more errors in Wollf’s book.
WHITFIELD: Interesting, and then one of the other things you knew kind of eliminated the possibility that it was you was because do I understand that you had someone who was born that day, like your child, so maybe you couldn’t have been there?
BERMAN: That also came to my attention. There was a Politico story that was actually written about that breakfast a few days later and the Politico story mentioned a number of the people who were there. It mentioned Ivanka, it mentioned representative Pelosi and so I looked at the date of that and I thought that’s weird, the Friday before that would have been the very same morning that my second daughter was born. So I don’t think I was at the Four Seasons that day.
Yeah, so Mark Berman had a pretty good reason to remember the day Wolff incorrectly placed him at a Four Seasons breakfast.
Finally some commentary from Berman on Wolff’s horrible vetting process:
WHITFIELD: We’re laughing about it now but it is kind of serious because particularly in our business of journalism and Michael Wolff also professes to be a journalist and writer and author of a book, accuracy and detail is so important. You double, triple, quadruple check things. And when you’re talking about quoting somebody or placing someone in a place, we all as journalists go through great lengths to make sure that what is about to be printed is right. You have editors and everybody else who look at the copy, too. So what is your instinct tell you about this kind of error in a book that’s getting this kind of attention and how that potentially impacts everything else that you might read in the book?
BERMAN: Well, I mean, obviously it speaks to the fact that at least some things apparently got through this process without being vetted fully. You know, once I tweeted a screen shot of this one paragraph of the book, other people pointed out there were two other errors in the same paragraph. Wilbur Ross is mentioned as being the nominee to lead the Labor Department. He was actually nominated and is now the head of the Commerce Department. And Hilary Rosen is mentioned and her name is misspelled. A couple of these little errors, they raise questions about the level of fact checking and editing. At the same time, I have not read the full book and I do not cover the white House but a number of political reporters and people who do and who have said there are parts of the book that ring and parts that ring false.
So three errors just in one of the Wolff’s analyzed paragraphs. How many more must there be? Mix a few facts with a lot of fiction and you have a book designed to temporarily fulfill the desperate cravings of anti-Trump liberals resulting in high sales to those emotionally needy folks. In such a business plan facts are just a sideshow so why bother with the effort of intensive vetting since it might remove the juiciest gossip from the book and hurt sales. Ka-CHING!