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Wolff's Reputation Of Making Stuff Up

Mike Reed - January 3, 2018

Michael Wolff has a long history of making stuff up.

He’s doing it again in his latest book.

Don’t take our word for it.  He admits it in the introduction to his book in which he states he “settled on a version of events I believe to be true” and “that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book.”

See below for more info:

Fox News’ Jesse Waters: Wolff Has Reputation For Inventing Things Out Of Thin Air

In 2004, Michelle Cottle, Then Senior Editor For New Republic, Wrote That Wolff’s “Columns Aren't Recreated So Much As Created--Springing From Wolff's Imagination Rather Than From Actual Knowledge Of Events. Even Wolff acknowledges that conventional reporting isn't his bag. Rather, he absorbs the atmosphere and gossip swirling around him at cocktail parties, on the street, and especially during those long lunches at Michael's.” (Michelle Cottle, “Wolff Trapped,” New Republic, 8/30/04)

  • Cottle Said That Wolff’s Writing Was A “Whirlwind Of Flourishes And Tangents And Asides That Often Stray So Far From The Central Point That You Begin To Wonder Whether There Is A Central Point.” “Without question, Wolff's writing is distinctive--glorious or ghastly, depending on whom you ask. His prose is a whirlwind of flourishes and tangents and asides that often stray so far from the central point that you begin to wonder whether there is a central point. (‘I find it nearly impossible to read his columns,’ says a columnist at one of the dailies.” (Michelle Cottle, “Wolff Trapped,” New Republic, 8/30/04)
  • Cottle Further Claimed That Wolff “Can’t Write” And “Doesn’t Report.” “‘I find the Michael Wolff phenomenon so New York,’ says a veteran New York-area journalist who knows Wolff casually. ‘If he lived anywhere but in the middle of the New York media world, they would say the emperor has no clothes. He can't write. He doesn't report. (Michelle Cottle, “Wolff Trapped,” New Republic, 8/30/04)

In 2010, Wolff Wrote An Article That Criticized The New York Times For Their Investigative Reporting. “The Times drops this amazing story last week digging into how a Rupert Murdoch tabloid illegally hacked telephones, including those of the royal family. We praised it here. Go read it if you haven’t yet—it’s well worth your time. Michael Wolff liked it, too. He calls it ‘a rousing whodunit with many smoking guns.’ But Wolff being Wolff, he paints the piece as a Machiavellian power play by The New York Times rather than what it is: an obviously juicy story that any ambitious newspaper with the resources would go after.” (Ryan Chittum, “Michael Wolff’s High Cynicism,” Columbia Journalism Review, 9/7/10)

  • The Columbia Journalism Review Called Wolff’s Criticism On Investigative Reporter Don Van Natta Jr. “Pathetic.” “Wolff also slimes the investigative reporter Don Van Natta Jr. for no good reason: Van Natta is a Times insider, loyalist, and gun, in ways similar to various Murdoch reporters who do Murdoch’s bidding, like Andy Coulson, the former editor of News of the World, and now Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications chief, or Steve Dunleavy, who, in the mid-1980s, investigated Warner’s chief Steve Ross during Murdoch’s efforts to take over the company. All newspapers have their hatchet guys. Evidence? Van Natta wrote the Judy Miller piece a few years back. Seriously, that’s all Wolff  ‘has’ here. Pathetic.” (Ryan Chittum, “Michael Wolff’s High Cynicism,” Columbia Journalism Review, 9/7/10)
  • The Columbia Journalism Review Called Out Wolff’s And Claimed He Had “Zero Evidence” To Blame The New York Times Of Conspiracy. “And Wolff, just to show you how much he hates accountability journalism, takes a pit stop to crap on Woodward and Bernstein: Still, just because you have ulterior motives (and some worry and guilt about your motives), doesn’t mean the story won’t stick. The Washington Post didn’t like Nixon—and because of that bad blood we got Watergate. Hey, why not? Finally, Wolff says, again with zero evidence, that the Times decided to pull up short, not tracing the coverup all the way to the top—just so it could hold a gun to Murdoch’s head. We’re left to suppose that if Murdoch pulls back the WSJ New York section or something, then the Times won’t let part two loose.” (Ryan Chittum, “Michael Wolff’s High Cynicism,” Columbia Journalism Review, 9/7/10)
  • To Conclude The Critique, The Columbia Journalism Review Called Wolff’s Piece “Twisted” And “Disgusting.” “This piece gives us more insight about the twisted worldview of Michael Wolff than it does about The New York Times. This is one of the most cynical things I’ve read in a long time. It’s disgusting, frankly.” (Ryan Chittum, “Michael Wolff’s High Cynicism,” Columbia Journalism Review, 9/7/10)

In 2012, Erik Wemple Of The Washington Post Claimed That Wolff’s Writing Is “Difficult To Hack Through” Adding That He Is The “Foxconn Of The Pointless, Comma-Laden Aside.” “Though by no means his worst outing, this piece has plenty of the distractive prose that makes so much of Wolff’s writing difficult to hack through. He is the Foxconn of the pointless, comma-laden aside.” (Erik Wemple, Op-Ed, “If Only We All Could Write As Well As Michael Wolff,” The Washington Post, 3/20/12)

In 2013, Joe Coscarelli, A Former New York Magazine Reporter, Called Wolff An “Angry Man For Pay.” “Angry man for pay (and past and present New York contributor) Michael Wolff is at it again, as he is every time he has an article to promote.” (Joe Coscarelli, “Michael Wolff’s War On Everything Is Just Viral Marketing For Himself, New York Magazine, 3/12/13)

  • Coscarelli Wrote Wolff Was A “Media Provocateur.” “Long a media provocateur, Wolff has only optimized his barbed bitching for the Internet, where he works like a Method actor, matching the tone of his latest piece on social media and carrying on until everyone notices.” (Joe Coscarelli, “Michael Wolff’s War On Everything Is Just Viral Marketing For Himself, New York Magazine, 3/12/13)

In 2016, Wolff Was Criticized For His Claim That Journalists Covering President Trump Should Be “Stenographers” And Nothing More. “Columnist Michael Wolff is being roundly mocked on Twitter for asserting that journalists covering Trump should be simply ‘stenographers’ who relay what he says to the inquiring public and nothing more.” (Sam Reisman, “Michael Wolff Mocked For Saying Journalists Covering Trump Should Just Transcribe What He Says,” Mediaite, 11/23/16)


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