CNN's Brian Stelter Can't Wait for Anonymous White House Staffer's Book

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Every Sunday, CNN's Brian Stelter hosts a show entitled Reliable Sources, but on Friday's edition of CNN Newsroom Stelter could be seen eagerly anticipating a new book by the most unreliable of source: that being of the anonymously written book that will purportedly be a behind the scenes look into the workings of the Trump Administration.

Stelter joined co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto to discuss new information about the book. Stelter reported that fellow CNN anchor Jake Tapper had recieved the book's back cover where the author pats himself on the back:

'I realize that writing this, while the president is still in office is extraordinary stuff. Some will find it disloyal, but too many people have confused loyalty to the man with loyalty to the country. The truth about the president must be spoken. Not after Americans have voted or after he's departed office.' Now this anonymous author goes on to say the following about their own experiences working with the president, 'Hopefully others will remedy the error of silence and choose to speak out. In these pages, in this book, you will not just hear from me, you will hear a great deal from for Donald Trump directly, for there is no better witness to his character than his own words and no better evidence of the danger he poses than his own conduct.'

 

 

Given that gossip rags disguised as tell-all books are not new to the Trump Administration, it would be wise to learn the lessons of history and insist that if this author wants to be taken seriously, that the official should resign and face scrutiny for his work like every other author to publish a controversial book.

However, Stelter didn't do that, "So that's a pretty clear hint about who this person is, that this person was in the room, maybe still in the room with thePpresident. It's notable that the publisher is not saying if this person's still working for the White House or not. I know some people are saying he's a coward, he or she is a coward by staying anonymous. I think what's most important is what's actually in the book." 

And after reading the book, how do we evaluate its claims? If it fits Stelter's pre-conceived ideas is it to be considered believable? What is the definition of "a high-level official?" At least when Michael Wolff wrote his book that contained nothing more than salacious gossip, he put his name to it, so intellectually honest journalists could call him out on his lack of sources and sexist rumor peddling. If journalists really want the truth, they should insist that the author put their name to their work so they can be challenged, because otherwise it is just more rumor spreading.   

Here is a transcript for the October 25 show:

CNN

CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto

9:49 AM ET

POPPY HARLOW: All right, welcome back to an anonymous senior Trump Administration official is going to reveal what they claim are explosive details of the president's private conversations. Jim, all of this in a new book. 

JIM SCIUTTO: That's right. The author saying, took notes in these conversations. The new book called "A Warning" promises to use the president's own words to paint a picture of chaos and incompetence in the White House. Joining us, CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter. Brian, the circumstances were unusual enough as an anonymous author of an op-ed, now an entire book here raises questions, but anything we know more about this insider, how high level, what they know, et cetera? 

BRIAN STELTER: I think there's an indication from the publisher this is a high-level official because the person claims to have been in a number of meetings with the president and will be quoting the president in this book. It's coming out in about four weeks, it’s already on the top ten on Amazon. As soon as this was announced, people started preordering it and the back cover has just been shared for the first time this morning. And this is what the back cover says, there’s some interesting details that are being shared for the first time on the back cover of the book as obtained by CNN’s Jake Tapper. We can read it to you and describe what it is exactly it’s saying. Quoting from the writer, it says, “I realize that writing this, while the president is still in office is extraordinary stuff. Some will find it disloyal, but too many people have confused loyalty to the man with loyalty to the country. The truth about the president must be spoken. Not after Americans have voted or after he's departed office.” 

Now this anonymous author goes on to say the following about their own experiences working with the President, “Hopefully others will remedy the error of silence and choose to speak out. In these pages, in this book, you will not just hear from me, you will hear a great deal from for Donald Trump directly, for there is no better witness to his character than his own words and no better evidence of the danger he poses than his own conduct." 

So that's a pretty clear hint about who this person is, that this person was in the room, maybe still in the room with the president. It's notable that the publisher is not saying if this person's still working for the White House or not. I know some people are saying he's a coward, he or she is a coward by staying anonymous. I think what's most important is what's actually in the book. 

HARLOW: Yeah

SCIUTTO: Yeah 

STELTER: Let's judge the contents when it comes out November 19th. 

SCIUTTO: True, although you could probably guess the White House pushback might involve the anonymity of the author, which is a tactic they've used before. 

STELTER: Good point, yeah. 

SCIUTTO: Brian Stelter, thanks very much. 

HARLOW Thanks, Brian 

 

 
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