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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

You've Come a Long Way, Baby

Sidney Schanberg on the utter uselessness of Bob Woodward, here talking about Traitorgate with Larry King:
"Technically they might be able to be charged with perjury. But I don't see an underlying crime here, and the absence of the underlying crime may cause somebody who is a really thoughtful prosecutor to say, you know maybe this is not one to go to the court with."

Is this the same Bob Woodward whose Watergate scoops were dismissed by Richard Nixon's press secretary, the late Ron Ziegler, as piddling stories about a "third-rate burglary"? Doesn't Woodward remember the reaction by many in the White House press corps, who initially sneered at the story and brushed it off as the fevered product of two lowly cityside reporters covering crime and the courts—which is what Woodward and Bernstein were at the time?


I wonder what Woodward's newsroom colleagues at The Washington Post think of his put-down of this investigation, especially the reporters—Dana Priest, Walter Pincus, Barton Gellman, Jim VandeHei, and others—who have been doing such an impressive job of digging deep and informing the public about the White House machinations and the larger Iraq story. I doubt they're throwing him any parties.

To write his books, Woodward needs special access to major people in the White House and the key cabinet departments. He is presently working on what he says may be a multivolume treatment of Bush's second term. He had access to the president himself for his book on the first term. But with this scandal still unfolding, lots of government biggies have suddenly zipped their lips. This has complicated Woodward's work. Perhaps that explains, in part, his reluctance to mouth any full-blown criticism of Bush administration missteps.
Woodward isn't just reluctant to criticize the Administration -- he's become the water carrier of choice. Schanberg doesn't report the big, fat whopping lie that Woodward went on to tell in that interview, that he had seen the CIA damage report done on the Plame leak:
They did a damage assessment within the CIA, looking at what this did that Joe Wilson's wife was outed. And turned out it was quite minimal damage. They did not have to pull anyone out undercover abroad. They didn't have to resettle anyone. There was no physical danger to anyone and there was just some embarrassment.
Two days later, the WaPo ran a story saying that no such CIA report was ever done. I guess that was the official answer as to what Woodward's "news room colleagues" thought of his put-down of their efforts.

Larry Johnson went further:
I have spoken to some people who are in a position to know. There has been damage. My source, however, declined to share classified information.
Woodward stopped being a "journalist" in the true sense of the word long ago -- when he decided celebrity status and book sales meant more than the truth. He has gone from being -- well, whatever he was, to something much worse: an official peddler of lies told by powerful people to whitewash their criminal activities.

I'd sure hate to be the publisher trying to launch his "Books on Crooks" series. But then again, I can't imagine a world where being the official BushCo. ass waxer -- and fodder for countless generations of grad students to tear limb from tedious limb as they dissect this criminally incompetent junta -- would be any kind of privilege to protect at the price of one's integrity.

Maybe it's just the money, after all.