Aging Even Worse Than Redford?

I hope you all spent the past four days, at minimum, ignoring all "news," especially the type that wafts from the frigid swamp in and around the District of Columbia. If and when you plug back into that grid, I recommend this fratricidal profile of Bob Woodward, by the Watergate legend's own Washington Post/CNN colleague, Howard Kurtz.

Though it doesn't at all address the whole Naval Intelligence/spook/conspiracy angle that I at least find intriguingly undercovered, and though it makes the rare Kurtzian error by stating: "Each Woodward book has generated its share of controversy ... but nothing like the impassioned debate surrounding the Bush volumes" (is Howie too young to have remembered the embarrassing, tone-deaf Belushi obit Wired?) ... but on the whole this is a satisfying newspaper-reading experience, both for sketching out some new (to me) details about the unique working arrangements of the country's most influential print journalist, and especially for the pleasing sight of watching two media divas from the same dressing room claw at one another.

Some excerpts:

Three decades older and millions of dollars richer, Woodward still has plenty of secret sources, but they work in the highest reaches of the Bush administration. They are molding history rather than revealing Watergate-style corruption. Some have even used the press to strike back against a critic of their war by revealing the identity of a CIA operative. [...]

Although he has spoken to CNN's Larry King and the Village Voice in the past week, Woodward declined several requests for an on-the-record interview with The Post, saying only that "I think the work speaks for itself." [...]

Under Woodward's unusual relationship with The Post, he stays on the payroll while mainly writing books from his Georgetown home, with the paper carrying excerpts -- and providing a publicity boost -- upon publication. This has sparked some resentment among the staff. [...]

[Executive Editor Len] Downie concedes that months sometimes go by without any contact with Woodward [...]

[H]e takes no unpaid leave to produce his books -- unlike most working reporters -- crafting his volumes for Simon & Schuster while retaining The Post's cachet. [...]

These days, a sizable number of newspaper and television reporters (including this one) also write books or appear regularly on TV public affairs shows, but unlike Woodward, they also must produce regularly for their primary employers. Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Woodward has written one news story, one Outlook piece and one book review

It goes on and on like that, and includes interesting quotes from former White House officials about why they talked to him.

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  • ||

    But what has chenged? Cover ups are part of official white house policy. and let's do something about finding out the truth.

  • ||

    I love it when the top-tier journamalists get all gentlemanly on each other.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    I remain skeptical about much of what Woodward writes. He asks us to accept his sources as gospel in the same way that Jesus asks us to accept his sources as gospel.

    Sometimes Woodward may be telling the truth, sometimes he's sketching a fairy tale, sometimes he or his sources are simply making it up as they go along, but in every case the commonality is that we, the public, are asked to believe. Trust Me, I'm Bob Woodward. HAVE FAITH.

    Highly placed sources within the Bush administration told TWC..........

  • Peter K.||

    There are two bits I remember from Woodward's recent reporting in his books. One was Wolfowitz at Camp David after 9/11 arguing that they should take out Saddam. Anti-war people (especially those who dislike "neocons") made a big deal out this. (that was Woodward, right? Probably Powell leaking to him on that.)

    The other was Clinton's CIA director George Tenet telling Bush the evidence on Saddam's WMD's was a "Slam Dunk." Hawks often point to this as evidence the administration didn't gin up evidence and mislead the public.

  • J. H. Huebert||

    What's wrong with Wired? It's been a long time since I read it, so I don't remember all the details, but as a teenager I found it shocking and fascinating.

  • Matt Welch||

    Totally, abysmally, inaccurately tone-deaf. You can feel his utter incomprehension at the non-linear surreality of the entertainment biz (especially as practiced in the late '70s & early '80s by the SNL freakers); and this lack of fundamental grokking led to all kinds of clumsy, embarrassing errors, the likes of which are too numerous for me to, um, remember. (It's been 20 years, man!)


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