May 3, 2017

When Ivanka Trump doesn’t promote her book, a helpful media steps in to do it for her


With Ivanka Trump bowing out of book promotion to avoid an appearance of conflict of interest, the media helpfully stepped in to help promote her brand.

We’ve previously written about Ivanka Trump, who, in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interests, has opted out of a book tour or media appearances promoting her new book, Women Who Work. Instead of book promotion, we said at the time, she would

travel to Germany, tell absurd lies about the President’s commitment to families, and get hissed at. Instead, she will make an elaborate show of supporting paid family leave, while doing very little to actually move helpful legislation forward.

Instead, she will use her influence to secure her trademarks in China and develop her international business portfolio.

Pity poor Ivanka, first daughter of the United States, who can’t extend her brand by promoting her book, and has to rely on the kindness of her fellow Americans to do that work for her. Thank goodness, we’ve obliged.

How bad is it? Well, it seems there are a lot of outlets interested in publishing uncritical coverage, devoid of context. Let’s take a quick look.

People doesn’t waste any time getting out a puff piece, “How Ivanka Trump Schedules Her Family Time — Including 20 Minutes a Day with Her 3-Year-Old Son,” which, I mean… okay?

Fortune gets in the act with an exclusive excerpt.

In these exclusive excerpts, Trump discusses her somewhat conflicted transition to working mom after the birth of her first child, her strategy for finding time for her family during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and her efforts to create a parent-friendly culture at her namesake fashion company.

Fortune may not be that surprising of a venue, but I was personally pretty shocked to see another exclusive excerpt at Refinery29. In their “We Want More” section, they introduce the piece this way:

Ivanka Trump shares her tips for working women—and how we can all ask for more—in our exclusive excerpt from her new book, Women Who Work, below.

Us Weekly has yet another exclusive excerpt (have they given away the whole book at this point?), published under the header “Ivanka Trump Says Mom Ivana Taught Her ‘to Define Success’: Read the Book Excerpt.”

USA Today headlines their story “10 things we learn about Ivanka Trump in her new book on working women,” and calls it a “a chatty step-by-step guide to living a happy life and getting ahead in a career.”

And this one from the Associated Press, “In New Book, Ivanka Trump Gets Serious About Women At Work,” which I stumbled across posted at the Washington Post:

Ivanka Trump has turned from sassy to serious with her second book, an exploration of women and the workplace.

The book, “Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success,” comes out Tuesday. President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser offers earnest advice for women on advancing in the workplace, balancing family and professional life, and seeking personal fulfilment. She is donating the proceeds to charity and has opted not to do any publicity to avoid any suggestion that she is improperly using her White House platform.

It’s natural that Ivanka Trump’s thinking would evolve. Now 35, she is married and has had three children since she wrote the first book. She has also embraced advocacy for women, first at her fashion brand and now at the White House as an unpaid adviser.

It’s true that there has been a good amount of critical coverage of the book as well, but this is the rollout of an author’s dreams. And all of this for a book with no reason for being, aside from brand promotion for the first family; a book that is an insult to millions of working mothers (and fathers); a book that asks us to buy it because of who the author is, but to forget what she stands for (as opposed to what she says stands for). Surely we can find more worthy books to pay attention to, books that are more worthy of consideration and discussion; heck, you could even ask me, I’d be happy to recommend a few!



Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.