If you haven’t heard, white-supremacist whisperer Olivia Nuzzi and guy who was fired from the New Yorker after a sexual misconduct investigation Ryan Lizza are a couple. Congrats to the sex-havers. While I’d usually try to avoid thinking about a woman my age being with a guy who is old enough to be her father, it was impossible when CNN’s Brian Stelter got a “SCOOP” like this:
Boyfriend and girlfriend co-authoring a book! How precious. At the very least, it certainly bolsters their very public relationship aesthetic.
While this is certainly exciting for the future of Nuzzi’s Instagram, there are several questions one might reasonably ask about the book itself and what it might possibly be like. Aside from having suffered seemingly no real consequences from a mysterious sexual-misconduct allegation serious enough to get him bounced from high-profile gigs at the New Yorker and CNN (which eventually reinstated him) and having been the person Anthony Scaramucci chose to talk to about not trying to suck his own cock, Lizza is best known for his long history of writing bland, studiously respectable studies of Washington power from millimeters left of center. Nuzzi, meanwhile, is best known for writing alarmingly credulous profiles of right-wing ghouls like Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich and former Trump insider Hope Hicks, and begging racist Barbie Ann Coulter to be her friend; the perspective and relationship to the nominal center here is a sort of mirror inversion of Lizza’s, while keeping its exact wised-up qualities.
Presumably, the idea here is for the two to come off as something out of a screwball comedy, with Lizza, the more stolid and serious type, covering the somewhat left of center, while Nuzzi, who presents as a little zanier, covering the more out-there right. Their complementarity will, one can imagine their publisher thinking, in theory yield a perfect balance: Two access junkies, who are between them tapped into both the fringe right that holds power and the moderate left that wants it, neatly surveying the 2020 race from the perspectives of knowing white people in their 20s and in their 40s.
In practice, of course, this seems like a way for two people who are pure vessels for whatever their sources want to say—two moderately ambitious people who are inclined to present powerful people the exact way they want to be presented—to do so in concert. For all their differences, Lizza and Nuzzi are one in how they write about politics like it’s reality TV—there for our enjoyment or, sometimes, outrage—and conveniently ignore the real and human cost of political decisions themselves, instead preferring to focus on the humanity of the people making or defending decisions that literally kill the people they are supposed to serve. They are the ideal people to write the book about the biggest event in contemporary American political history that the people who are orchestrating it would like to read. Whether their book will sweep the reader into the corridors of power and detail how things work while covering a full range of ideological perspectives and calling politicians out for their bullshit, or whether these two reporters, who have been soaking in the D.C. media stew for their entire adult lives, will purvey the worst kind of insiderism in service of telling you that beneath the garish freak show politicians are real people, while conveniently forgetting about the masses of real people living—and dying—under them, who can say.
As my former colleague Alex Pareene noted, at least the book is unlikely to get derailed by a sexual misconduct allegation, since if that was going to happen, it already would have! Anyhow, congrats to the happy couple on their book deal.