The Problem With “Gotcha Books”

The Problem With

( – It’s been said that every story has at least three sides. That adage comes to mind in the wake of a spate of exposés about President Trump. Indeed, circumstances warrant a “healthy dose” of skepticism considering their pre-election timing.

To be clear, that’s not an allegation, just an acknowledgment that a bit of scrutiny is in order when sensational books hit the shelves weeks before, arguably, the most crucial presidential election in a generation.

It’s essential to consider the context of purported facts. For instance, take the example of Colgate toothpaste. In the early 2000s, the company ran a television advertisement claiming that “four out of five dentists recommend Colgate.”

Taking that same data point, a competitor could reasonably claim “20% of dentists” prefer a toothpaste other than Colgate.

Facts are facts; however, how one presents them can make all the difference in the world regarding how others might interpret them.

Equally important is considering the potential objectivity of a particular set of facts — in this instance, ones presented in a tell-all book.

Considering the Source

Keeping that idea in mind, let’s look at an example using Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, a recent memoir by Donald Trump’s niece, Mary L. Trump, published on July 14, 2020.

In her book, Ms. Trump described the decision to supply family tax records to The New York Times, who used them to publish an investigative article discussing Mr. Trump’s alleged “dubious tax schemes.”

As Ms. Trump recounted in the book, she waited for a month before turning over the documents while watching as her uncle “trod upon the vulnerable.”

Continuing, she wrote, “it wasn’t enough” for her to volunteer “helping Syrian refugees.” “I had to take Donald [Trump] down,” she added.

To be clear, we’re not making any accusations or moral judgments about Ms. Trump or her book. We’re merely pointing out that by her admission, Ms. Trump might lack a bit of, let us say — objectivity?

We can confidently state that facts are subject to interpretation at the hands of the beholder. We leave the rest to you.

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