A rookie reported from Vietnam in 1967, and his eyewitness report on the planned destruction of a village helped change how we saw the Vietnam War. Maggie Haberman tells David Remnick about reporting from a White House where the press is the enemy. And Bob Odenkirk shares some exercise tips for sculpting truly unbelievable abs.
One of the saving graces of the Trump era is the journalism it has inspired. Maggie Haberman is a tireless, keen-eyed example. As part of the New York Times’ White House team, she has repeatedly added to the sum total of what we know about this President and the chaotic West Wing.
To hang around Haberman is to be ashamed of one’s indolence and inattention. She is a multitasker par excellence. A hummingbird effortlessly doing what she needs to do, which is everything at once. Even as she carries on a conversation in life, she is texting, fielding calls from the office and home, writing, taking edits—and when you finally get home in the evening and go to the Times Web site, you see her byline on two or three stories.
This week, after we spoke, Haberman and two of her colleagues spent nearly an hour talking with the President. He took the interview as an occasion not so much to think out loud about policy as to trash everyone within reach, including his own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. Trump has called Haberman “third-rate,” and yet he is somehow obsessed with her, and the Times’, attention. Haberman first got to know Trump when she was a reporter for the New York Post; she also worked for the Daily News and Politico before joining the Times, in 2015. She is also a CNN political analyst. David Gregory, her colleague at CNN, rightly said on the air, “It’s striking that the President, who spends so much time trying to discredit the news media to convince his supporters simply not to believe outlets like the New York Times, in the end cannot quit Maggie Haberman, and that’s just the bottom line. Because he wants legitimacy and he knows you have to go to Maggie and her colleagues, who are really the journalists of record on this Trump Presidency.”
A couple of days before the Trump interview, I spoke with Haberman for The New Yorker Radio Hour, which is broadcast nationally on public radio stations and available now on newyorker.com. What follows is a transcript of our conversation, edited for length and clarity.