×

Once registered, you can:

  • - Read additional free articles each month
  • - Comment on articles and featured creative work
  • - Get our curated newsletters delivered to your inbox

By registering you agree to our privacy policy, terms & conditions and to receive occasional emails from Ad Age. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Are you a print subscriber? Activate your account.

6 things you should know about the Comey book and the media frenzy around it

By Published on .

A higher loyalty
A higher loyalty Credit: Macmillan Publishers

It's heeeeere!

Well, not quite—former FBI Director James Comey's memoir, "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership," technically only officially goes on sale on Tuesday, April 17—but as a media phenomenom, it's obviously all anyone can talk about right now.

Here's your handy crib sheet:

1. The New York Times had Michiko Kakutani review it

The "failing New York Times," as Trump likes to call it, sent out a news alert last night titled "James Comey doesn't mince words in his new book: 'This president is unethical, and untethered to truth.' Here's our critic's review." That critic is not just any critic—it's Michiko Kakutani, the former chief book critic at the paper. When she stepped down last year, Vanity Fair called her "legendary" and "the most feared woman in publishing." Her review, headlined "James Comey Has a Story to Tell. It's Very Persuasive," begins,

In his absorbing new book, "A Higher Loyalty," the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey calls the Trump presidency a "forest fire" that is doing serious damage to the country's norms and traditions. "This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values," Comey writes. "His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty."

A key subtext of the Comey book that Kakutani highlights:

A February 2017 meeting in the White House with Trump and then chief of staff Reince Priebus left Comey recalling his days as a federal prosecutor facing off against the Mob: "The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth."

Read her full review here.

2. Another noted critic had this to say about the author of "A Higher Loyalty" this morning:

3. The 'pee-tape' stuff is back, bigly

The Washington Post also got an advance copy of the book. Rather than review it, the Post's White House Bureau Chief Philip Rucker sums it up in a story titled "James Comey's memoir: Trump fixates on proving lewd dossier allegations false." Rucker writes,

Comey paints a devastating portrait of a president who built "a cocoon of alternative reality that he was busily wrapping around all of us." Comey describes Trump as a congenital liar and unethical leader, devoid of human emotion and driven by personal ego.

As for "lewd dossier allegations" the Post alludes to in its headline? Um, here you go, per Rucker:

Comey describes Trump as having been obsessed with the portion dealing with prostitutes in the infamous dossier compiled by British former intelligence officer Christopher Steele, raising it at least four times with the FBI director. The document claimed that Trump had watched the prostitutes urinate on themselves in the same Moscow suite that President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama had stayed in "as a way of soiling the bed," Comey writes.

4. If you don't want to think too much about the pee tape, there are plenty of other things in the Comey book to dwell on

Like bullying. This is a media-about-media-about-media moment, so part of today's entertainment is watching how various news organizations are serving up reports of the Comey memoir in ways they think will resonate with their readers.

New Jersey's NJ.com, for instance, goes with this headline: "Comey: Getting wedgies as a kid in N.J. prepared me for Trump." Because, as the saying goes, all politics is local, right?

5. But back to the pee tape!

James Comey has kicked off a publicity tour to promote his book, which is yielding headlines like this one from The Daily Beast this morning: "Trump 'Pee Tape' Could Be Real, Says Ex FBI Director James Comey" (subhead: "In a stunning interview on 'Good Morning America' the former director of the FBI said it was 'possible' that the Russians had video of Trump taking part in a degrading sexual act").

6. Comey's marketing campaign is being met by a countermarketing campaign

In a post titled "Exclusive: Inside the GOP plan to discredit Comey," CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jeff Zeleny writes,

President Donald Trump's allies are preparing an extensive campaign to fight back against James Comey's publicity tour, trying to undermine the credibility of the former FBI director by reviving the blistering Democratic criticism of him before he was fired nearly a year ago.

The battle plan against Comey, obtained by CNN, calls for branding the nation's former top law enforcement official as "Lyin' Comey" through a website, digital advertising and talking points to be sent to Republicans across the country before his memoir is released next week. The White House signed off on the plan, which is being overseen by the Republican National Committee.

The website Zeleny mentions is, no kidding, LyinComey.com

Most Popular