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Michael Lewis let White House pre-approve quotes for Vanity Fair piece

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In case you wondered how the Berkeley author of “Moneyball” and other bestsellers got such extraordinary access to President Obama for his latest article in Vanity Fair—turns out he complied to demands that the White House pre-approve the President’s quotes.

It’s a dirty little secret of journalism that those who practice don’t usually talk about, and those who oppose see as akin to prostitution.

Lewis was asked about it during a panel discussion with Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter in New York on Monday, an event that The Caucus, the NYT’s politics and government blog, reported on. An excerpt after the jump:

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.

Image: Michael Lewis with President Obama/ Vanity Fair


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