Cannes Lions 2018: Mere observation helped Michael Wolff unearth "chaos" in White House

Jeff Goodby of Goodby Silverstein & Partners interviews 'Fire and Fury' author Wolff on Donald Trump and journalism at Cannes Lions 2018 session

Michael Wolff had the audience glued to his session ‘Fire and Fury: The New Normal?’ with an air of know-it-all on Day 1 of Cannes Lions 2018. Held at the Lumiere Theatre, Palais I, the session between Jeff Goodby, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, and Wolff, author of ‘Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House’, offered a close-up account of the “chaos” in the Donald Trump administration.

Talking about his seven-month-long stint at the White House’s busy West Wing where he interacted with everyone without ever asking a question like a political reporter would, Wolff says, “They are all knuckleheads. Greatest bunch of knuckleheads assembled in one place. That’s how I got in because they are all stupid.”

His book ‘Fire and Fury’ became a publishing sensation selling over 2 million copies in the US alone. He had unprecedented access to Trump’s cabinet, including former strategist Steve Bannon, who spoke critically of the President and his family. The Trump administration has openly condemned Wolff’s book.

Goodby questioned him on his style of reporting, to which Wolff said, “Political reporters ask questions and pry, I asked no questions. I never asked beyond 'how is it going?' I’m a magazine journalist, I practice older style of journalism and that is what the style of reporting was then. I sat in the White House and only observed people, who were complaining, and that became the main thread of the book. The staff would roll their eyes in spite of agreeing to what Donald Trump said. You could see this arc of certainty to puzzlement to disillusionment to incredulity to anger that a 100 per cent people felt around Trump. Think of the worst boss you’ve ever had, that’s Donald Trump.”

Throughout his presidential campaign and presidency, Donald Trump has threatened to sue numerous journalists and news organizations for defamation, but he has never followed through on these threats.

Wolff’s book is also set to be turned into a TV series and will be directed by Jay Roach, whose credits include 'Austin Powers' and 'Game Change'.

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