OLD Media Moves

Donald Trump and the media

January 31, 2006

Well-known journalist Sydney Schanberg takes on the issue of real estate mogul Donald Trump and his recent libel lawsuit against New York Times’ reporter Timothy O’Brien for allegedly overstating his net worth in his book called Trump Nation.

As Schanberg notes, Trump is suing O’Brien and his publisher, Warner Books, for $2.5 billion, saying that his business has been affected by that amount. If Forbes magazine is to be believed, then Trump’s net worth of $2.7 billion has taken a serious hit.

Trump’s net worth is the reason for the lawsuit. O’Brien wrote in his book, which was also excerpted in the Times, that Trump’s net worth was in the hundreds of millions, not the billions.

Schanberg notes: “The suit contends that Trump provided O’Brien with all his financial documents and gave the reporter hours to pore over them. O’Brien says the documents he was shown were marginal or useless in determining net worth. He says Trump refused to let him see any pertinent documents—specifically his tax returns, bank statements, an accounting of his debts, and his casino reports to New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement.”

Schanberg also wrote: “At the start of his career in hype and carnival barking, the press fawned over him; he made great copy. It’s refreshing that reality has finally crept into the coverage.” He also claims that Trump’s attorney threatened O’Brien at a book signing last month.

Doesn’t Trump realize that all of this publicity is good for O’Brien’s book sales?

Read Schanberg’s piece in the Village Voice here.

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