Monday, May 18, 2009

Columbia Journalism Review: "Nice scoop by the Journal." (The Donald)

My favorite (recent) Trump story was via the WSJ's Wealth Report in June last year:

Tipping Point: Now Donald Trump Is an Environmentalist
You know the green movement has reached its peak when Donald Trump proclaims himself an environmentalist.

Mr. Trump is trying to build a golf course on an unspoiled stretch of land in northern Scotland. Reflecting his usual penchant for modesty, Mr. Trump says the course will be the “best in the world,” and far superior to the legendary courses at St. Andrews....

...Mr. Trump attended a hearing on the proposal yesterday to try and save it. (Here’s the BBC article and video of Mr. Trump’s press conference). After a representative of the Scottish Wildlife Trust said Mr. Trump had ignored his own environmental consultants’ advice, Mr. Trump said he didn’t need to read the reports, since he was already an expert.

“I would consider myself an environmentalist in the true sense of the word,” Mr. Trump said,

a comment that drew so much laughter from the public gallery that the inquiry chairman had to call for order....MORE

Here's the CJR on today's Journal story*:

Deposed Trump Looks Very Bad in the Journal

The Wall Street Journal has a hilarious story today using Donald Trump’s lawsuit against The New York Times editor Timothy O’Brien to get a damaging look inside Trumpville.

O’Brien wrote a book four years ago saying Trump was worth just a couple hundred million dollars rather than the billions Trump claims, and the Donald sued for “defamation.”

Trump, surprisingly, is actually pushing the case forward and has been deposed. Surprising because… well, see below. My friend Alex Frangos, a Journal real estate reporter, somehow got a hold of the deposition and—let’s just say this—O’Brien doesn’t have much to worry about.

The deposed Trump is a huckster laid bare: A web of spin, delusions, and outright BS—and he admits it.

For example:

Mr. Trump was asked whether he has ever exaggerated in statements about his properties. “I think everybody does,” he said in the deposition. “Who wouldn’t?”

A follow-up question: Does that mean he inflates the value of his properties in general, nonfinancial public statements? “Not beyond reason,” he said in the testimony.


For example, in a November 2007 Wall Street Journal interview cited by Mr. Ceresney, Mr. Trump said he had sold out units at an eponymous condo-hotel project in Hawaii. “The building is largely owned by me,” he said in the interview. But in the deposition, Mr. Ceresney produced the licensing agreement for the project. Mr. Trump wasn’t a major equity holder in the project, it showed, a fact Mr. Trump didn’t dispute.

“Because this is such a strong licensing agreement that I consider it to be a form of ownership,” Mr. Trump said. “I’d rather have this than own the building,” he said. Moments later he said: “I would say that it could be interpreted to be a form of ownership in the building.”

Uh, no, Donny....MORE

*Trump on Trump: Testimony Offers Glimpse of How He Values His Empire
Worth Rises, Falls 'With Markets and Attitudes And With Feelings, Even My Own Feeling'