For nearly 70 years now, it’s been standard operating procedure for ex-presidents to, immediately upon leaving office, sign massive deals to publish their memoirs with top publishing houses (Yes there’s an untold Harry Truman story about this too, in case you’re wondering).
That hasn’t happened yet with President Fake Billionaire yet, even though there are plenty of indications he could use some cash right about now. That’s because the New York publishing world will do a lot of things for money, but its denizens still want to keep it all at least a little respectable:
In the publishing world, Trump is regarded as an untouchable, even though his post-White House memoir would assuredly top the bestseller charts and generate a windfall for the publisher foolhardy enough to touch it. Never before has a modern president struggled to score a cushy book deal after leaving office, but as ever, Trump has notched another ignoble first. Members of the Big Five publishing houses see his memoir as a third rail, fearing that such a book would be closer to a work of fiction than memoir. Keith Urbahn, president and founding partner of the creative and literary agency Javelin, told Politico, “Any editor bold enough to acquire the Trump memoir is looking at a fact-checking nightmare, an exodus of other authors, and a staff uprising.”
The most basic fact checking any publisher can do is to check on whether or not the prospective author of a memoir is a pathological liar/bullshitter. If the answer is “yes,” you really don’t have to do any more fact-checking than that. Not that this stops this particular article from indulging is some truly Olympic-standard both-siding:
Certainly well-edited political books have value, and publishing should welcome voices from both sides of the aisle, but Democrats and Republicans both should be subject to rigorous fact-checking. Anyone who won’t agree to a good, clean fact-check should consider their right to a mainstream book deal forfeit. That said, convincing publishing to invest in fact-checking will be an uphill climb; as an Esquire investigation revealed, publishers rarely agree to finance fact-checking, and even more rarely require it as a barrier to publication. Convincing conservatives to submit to fact-checking or take a hike will be even harder, but the policy needs to cut both ways, for the good of the American public. It remains unclear if A Promised Land, Barack Obama’s runaway bestseller, was subjected to fact-checking; this is every bit as concerning as the complete abdication of fact-checking with Trumpworld memoirs.
Here again we see just how impossible it remains for the media to adjust to the reality of Donald Trump: a man whose assertions about whether something did or didn’t happen have quite literally zero probative value. This is not hyperbole. All politicians shade the truth, and some will outright lie from time to time, but Trump is a qualitatively different creature — a man whose word means, in the most absolute literal sense, absolutely nothing. That Trump says something did or did not happen has no evidentiary value whatsoever in regard to whether or not it actually happened.
Publishing a purported “memoir” by such an author is simply a fraud on the public, and any publisher with chutzpah to do so should be treated with contempt.