12-Dec, 21:31

18:47, January 11 265 0

2017-01-11 18:47:17
Noted: Overrated? Loser? Not if It’s Trump Who Calls You Out

The news release for Jonathan Chait’s new book about the presidency of Barack Obama, “Audacity,” carries an unusual endorsement. Typically a publisher will promote advance reviews or praise from fellow authors. But Custom House, Mr. Chait’s publisher, has instead reprinted a Twitter post by President-elect Donald J. Trump.

In the May 2013 tweet, Mr. Trump called Mr. Chait’s employer, New York magazine, “a piece of garbage” and the political reporter himself a “no-talent illiterate hack.”

For Kelly Rudolph, senior publicity director for Custom House, a new imprint of William Morrow, the insulting post was manna from heaven. In addition to using it for the book’s news release, she circulated it on the publisher’s Instagram account.

“From a marketing standpoint, these days a negative tweet from Trump guarantees that people will pay attention,” Ms. Rudolph said. “In a fun, opposite-day kind of way,” she said, being called a hack by Mr. Trump was high praise for her author.

Indeed, for some in the news media and liberal intelligentsia, the Trump insult tweet has become a badge of honor.

Twice, Vanity Fair has reprinted a Trump dis on its cover — in May 2016, when Mr. Trump was the Republican front-runner, and again on its February 2017 issue, when the magazine quoted him as saying: “Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine? Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!”

Far from damaging the publication, Mr. Trump’s online invective has only raised its prospects, said Mr. Carter, who remains its editor in chief.

“For us, it’s the gift that keeps on giving,” Mr. Carter said by email. “His last tweet brought us 80,000 new subscribers in two weeks.”

Lawrence O’Donnell, the television journalist, also appeared pleased to be on the receiving end of a Trump tweetstorm. When The New York Times recently published a list of the 289 people, places and things that Mr. Trump had insulted on Twitter, Mr. O’Donnell discovered that he was on it (Mr. Trump called his nightly show on MSNBC “unwatchable”).

Mr. O’Donnell gleefully shared the news on air with his colleague Rachel Maddow.

“Badge of honor, my friend,” Ms. Maddow said in response.

Mr. Chait, the book author, said being targeted by Mr. Trump didn’t make much of an impression back in 2013.

“Trump was still a sideshow entertainer in some way,” Mr. Chait said. “It was closer to getting engaged with online by James Woods or some other deranged celebrity.”

But after Mr. Trump began to achieve political success and then was elected president, Mr. Chait realized the value of being publicly insulted by a man who doesn’t hesitate to wield Twitter like a blunt instrument on his critics. And in using Mr. Trump’s tweet to promote his book on President Obama’s legacy, Mr. Chait saw a delicious opportunity to turn the president-elect’s favored medium against him.

“It seems to me that he genuinely believes he’s punishing or crushing his enemies by spraying out nasty tweets,” Mr. Chait said. “He hasn’t really assimilated the fact that he’s polarizing.”

Mr. Chait added: “He’s the epitome of the person you don’t want as a reader. He’s the best advertisement you could ask for.”