Charlie Manson dies, and we say goodbye to the 60s.  Michael Wolff publishes Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House and we dash headlong into the 1970s.  Hunter S. Thompson—the father of “gonzo journalism”—would assuredly approve of Wolff’s saga.  A whiff of truth enhanced by an imagination of the lunacy and psychological warfare taking place within 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

To truly appreciate the echoes of history ricocheting across the world of political journalism, one must go back and read Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.  Hunter immersed himself in the Nixon-McGovern race as a man possessed.  Scribbling stories for Rolling Stone magazine that were often completed at the absolute last minute, Hunter captured the ugly exchange of two professional liars battling to have finger on Trump’s “much bigger and more powerful…(nuclear) Button.”

Reading through Hunter’s collected essays its often difficult to discern where truth ends and fiction begins.  All told in first person…a writing style that certainly would behoove Mr. Wolff…his supposed journalistic integrity was in question before he banged out this tripe.  Now he gets to exchange verbal and textual exchanges with the world’s most powerful bully.

Even Nixon was not that unkind to Hunter.

Shit, Hunter didn’t even make Nixon’s “enemy list.”

Go figure.

I guarantee Wolff is prominently listed on Trump’s enemy list.  And you can bet the man keeps a list…probably the one bit of paper he does read every night.  How can I be sure?

Here’s a Tweet from our Commander-in-Chief:

   I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him

But, wait…it gets better…keep in mind these are Tweets from the man whose finger is on that “bigger and more powerful button.”

            Now that Russian collusion, after one year of intense study, has proven to be a total hoax on the American public, the Democrats and their lapdogs, the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence…..

….Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star…..

…to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!

Alas, even Hunter could not have made up material to match those quotes.  But he sure as hell would divine a way to ensure we understood the insanity of what is transpiring before our very eyes.  The President of the United States defending his mental agility in 140-character messages likely sent over an unsecured cell phone.

No wonder Putin likes Trump…the Russian intelligence agencies don’t have to decrypt his communications and Moscow’s psychologists have plenty of material for providing an assessment of the Oval Office occupant’s character and judgement.  I bet the boys at CIA are jealous, they don’t get this stuff from Beijing or Moscow without a lot of leg work.

Say what you will of Fire and Fury, the fervor will almost certainly further inflame the debate over “fake news.”  For that we can blame Michael Wolff and Donald Trump.  Wolff for his loose application of the facts, and Trump for inflating book sales by trying to first halt the text’s publication and then expending hours of his day firing back at a two-bit pulp writer best-suited for employment with the New York Post. 

            Given Trump’s reaction one would think Wolff had just released The Pentagon Papers.  Then, again, maybe he did.  The 2018 version.

Hunter S. Thompson would be proud, we have indeed returned to the 1970s…it’s not “fake news” …it’s gonzo journalism…enough of this detached, fact-based reporting…I’m looking forward to tales where the writer is at the center of story, standing by to impart emotional and visceral reactions to unfolding events.  The President, as evidenced in his endless Tweets, already operates in such a manner…perhaps the New York Times and Washington Post should follow suit.

Eric C. Anderson

6 January 2018