Saturday on “CNN Newsroom,” Mark Berman, a reporter for The Washington Post said he was not at a breakfast at the Four Seasons in Washington, D.C. as reported in Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury.”
Partial transcript as follows:
WHITFIELD: After several errors have been pointed out from a variety of people, from the White House on down. In his book, one of them namely the appearance of The Washington Post reporter Mark Berman, well, his name appeared in this book as being somebody as a breakfast at the Four Seasons in Washington, D.C. Well, now that Washington Post reporter is actually saying he wasn’t there at the Four Seasons and why is he in that book anyway? Mark Berman is with us now, a Washington Post national reporter. So, mark, the context in which you understand your name came up in this ‘Fire and fury’ is what?
BERMAN: A colleague told me about it yesterday, e-mailed me to see if I was aware that I was mentioned in being the book and to ask if I had any notes about this meeting at the Four Seasons was I was attending. I was confused because I told my colleague not only did I not read the book but I was never at the Four Seasons in DC.
WHITFIELD: What was your reaction?
BERMAN: I was a little befuddled. We spent some time in the newsroom trying to figure out who it could have been. We have another reporter named mark at the Post after I tweeted a screenshot of the book, he suggested that maybe it was Mike Berman, a very well-known lobbyist in D.C. And I e-mailed him, and he confirmed he was there that day.
WHITFIELD: And one of the other things you knew eliminated the possibility that it was you was because do I understand that you had someone who was born that day, like your child, so maybe you couldn’t have been there?
BERMAN: That also came to my attention. There was a Politico story written about that breakfast a few days later, and the Politico story mentioned people there, Ivanka, representative Pelosi and so I looked at the date of that, and I thought that’s weird, the Friday before that would have been the very same morning that my second daughter was born. So I don’t think I was at the four seasons that day.
WHITFIELD: We’re laughing about it now, but it is kind of serious because particularly in our business of journalism and Michael Wolff also professes to be a journalist and writer and author of a book, accuracy, and detail is so important. You double, triple, quadruple check things. And when you’re talking about quoting somebody or placing someone in a place, we all as journalists go through great lengths to make sure that what is about to be printed is right. You have editors and everybody else who look at the copy, too. So what is your instinct tell you about this kind of error in a book that’s getting this kind of attention and how that potentially impacts everything else that you might read in the book?
BERMAN: Well, I mean, obviously it speaks to the fact that at least some things apparently got through this process without being vetted fully. You know, once I tweeted a screenshot of this one paragraph of the book, other people pointed out there were two other errors in the same paragraph. Wilbur Ross is mentioned as being the nominee for an incorrect department, and there is a name misspelled. I have not read the full book, and I do not cover the White House but a number of political reporters and people who have said there are parts of the book that rings true and parts that ring false.
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