Michael Lewis let White House approve quotes for Vanity Fair profile

The New York Times

Michael Lewis allowed the White House to approve quotes for his profile in Vanity Fair of President Obama, Jeremy W. Peters reports. The article will go online at midnight Tuesday; Vanity Fair has a preview up right now with some admittedly killer quotes in it.

Lewis revealed the precondition of his access to the president at a public forum Monday, Peters writes.

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.

Mr. Lewis said there was one particularly moving exchange with the president that he wished he could have described in greater detail. But the White House nixed the idea, perhaps wary of having the commander in chief described as in tears.

Lewis played basketball with Obama and "was given a special lapel pin that designated him to the Secret Service as someone who was allowed to be in close proximity to the president," Peters writes.

Peters brought the increasingly common practice of allowing sources to approve quotes into public view this summer.

Earlier: Ari Fleischer: Quote approval started with good intent | Politico’s Harris bothered by ‘quote doctoring‘ | AP doesn’t let sources approve quotes beforehandDan Rather: Quote approval is ‘a jaw-dropping turn in journalism’ | Jack Shafer, Karen Tumulty discuss quote approval

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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