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View Diary: Bob Woodward's story lets the media preen, and they love him for it (66 comments)

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  •  Joan Didion said it best about Woodward. (6+ / 0-)

    She called his work"political pornography."

    Bob Woodward’s book The Choice: How Bill Clinton Won came out in June, 1996, and Didion’s essay was published in The New York Review of Books in September. The essay is not strictly a book review. It is a deconstruction of Woodward himself, and, devastatingly, she uses his words – over and over and over and over again – to make the points she wants to make. You get the sense that Woodward almost made it too easy for her. It is his methodology she wants to criticize, but, on a deeper level, the fact that he seems to resist drawing conclusions from his methodology that she takes issue with. She calls his work “political pornography” and a more brutal assessment of Woodward you probably won’t find.
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    Mr. Woodward’s aversion to engaging the ramifications of what people say to him has been generally understood as an admirable quality, at best a mandarin modesty, at worst a kind of executive big-picture focus, the entirely justifiable oversight of someone with a more important game to play. Yet what we see in The Choice is something more than a matter of an occasional inconsistency left unexplored in the rush of the breaking story, a stray ball or two left unfielded in the heat of the opportunity, as Mr. Woodward describes his role, “to sit with many of the candidates and key players and ask about the questions of the day as the campaign unfolded”. What seems most remarkable in this Woodward book is exactly what seemed remarkable in the previous Woodward books, each of which was presented as the insiders’ inside story and each of which went on to become a number-one bestseller: these are books in which measurable cerebral activity is virtually absent.

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