Media Blasts Comey, His Book: 'Pitiable,' 'Small-Minded,' 'Self-Righteous,' 'Dumb'

James Comey / Getty
April 17, 2018

Former FBI Director James Comey and his new bestselling book aren't being well-received in all circles, with various outlets and commentators ripping him for bad judgment, pettiness and sanctimony.

Comey is currently promoting his memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, which in part recounts his tenure leading the FBI before President Donald Trump fired him last May. Comey blasts Trump as "untethered to truth" and has declared him "morally unfit" to be president, while Trump has fired back that Comey is a "slime ball" and should be in jail.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board blasted Comey's book, comparing the work to a "supermarket tabloid" with its "tell-all" approach. It also called him "a score-settling bureaucratic conniver whose vanity has triumphed over his sense of duty and whose personal agendas obliterated the thing he most wanted to be — a good public servant."

"Hence we have learned what Mr. Comey thought of the size of the president’s hands, and that he told the president he did not take the infamous and revolting Steele dossier seriously (but that he does not now totally dismiss it), and even what Mr. Comey thinks of the president’s language, mannerisms and marriage," the board writes. "This is higher loyalty and purpose?"

It goes on to rip Comey as revealing himself to be "partisan, petty and disappointingly, breathtakingly, small-minded."

"There seems to be no thought behind this book — only gossip and rather pitiable attempts at self-aggrandizement," the board writes.

MSNBC host Ari Melber flatly said Comey "still does not get it" and that through his book, even with the benefit of hindsight, he has doubled down on his biggest mistakes.

Melber lit into Comey over his defense of the handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, calling him "dumb" for worrying about potential partisan spin that the Justice Department was controlled by the Clinton team.

Politico media writer Jack Shafer criticized Comey's book and subsequent mammoth interview with George Stephanopoulos as having "drenched the public discourse with the stink of sanctimony," hitting him for portraying himself as a "deacon of justice."

Like others, Shafer hits Comey for his personal hits on Trump's appearance and tan, and for spoiling his own message.

"When your 304-page book and marathon interviews produce sympathy for Donald Trump—even a dollop of sympathy—you’re doing it wrong," Shafer wrote.

Washington Post book critic Carlos Lozada reserved particularly biting criticism for Comey's treatment of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

In his memoir, Comey makes oblique references to unverified, classified materials that could have been used by political opponents to impeach Lynch's independence regarding the Clinton investigation.

"Of course, it is also bothersome that the former FBI director would cite vague information to imply wrongdoing by the nation’s top law-enforcement official, with the very nature of the information making it hard for her to respond," Lozada wrote. "The Washington Post has reported that in 2016 the FBI received a Russian intelligence document citing an email in which Lynch supposedly assured the Clinton campaign that the investigation would not go too deep, but that the document was unreliable."

"For Comey to suggest that the attorney general 'appeared politically compromised' without offering supportive evidence does not seem particularly ethical. And it does not seem like leadership," he concluded.

The Washington Examiner noted media observers who were unimpressed with Comey following Sunday's hour-long interview special with Stephanopoulos.

"I didn’t like that interview," CNN political analyst David Gregory said Monday. "I don’t think Jim Comey came off well at all. I think yet again he is obsessed with his standing, his media standing, his kind of political standing."

CNN commentator Ana Navarro, a fanatical critic of Trump, even joined in the Comey criticism, tweeting he was "obnoxiously self-righteous."

The Republican Party has declared war on Comey, a former Republican himself, in the wake of the book tour, launching a website called and promoting videos and clips of his critics.