Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of “Moneyball” and “The Big Short,” was granted extraordinary access to President Obama for his latest article in Vanity Fair.
But with that access came one major condition.
Like other journalists who write about Washington and presidential
politics, Mr. Lewis said that he had to submit to the widespread but rarely disclosed practice of quote approval.
During a discussion at Lincoln Center on Monday night with Graydon Carter,
the editor of Vanity Fair, Mr. Lewis volunteered to the audience that
as a condition of cooperating with his story, the White House insisted
on signing off on the quotes that would appear.
Mr. Lewis said that ultimately the White House disallowed very little of what he asked to use. And he described having access to the president that was unusually unfettered. About 95 percent of what he witnessed was on the record, he said.
What the White House asked to leave off the record, Mr. Lewis added,
was usually of little relevance to his article anyway — like a
discussion between Mr. Obama and his political strategists about their
electoral strategy in Florida.
The full New York Times story
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