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View Diary: Abbreviated pundit roundup: Bob Woodward is petty, petulant and above all, wrong (148 comments)

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  •  Joan Didion on Woodward over 15 years ago (1+ / 0-)
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    Didion's review of several of Woodward's books in the New York Review of Books already reveals what we are witnessing now.  It is titled "The deferential spirit."

    I give you the final paragraph.  Didion returns to Woodward's "interview" with Casey on his death bed and whether Casey knew about Irancontra.

    “I kept coming back to the question of personal responsibility, Casey’s responsibility,” Mr. Woodward reports having mused (apparently for once ready, at the moment when he is about to visit a source on his deathbed, to question the veracity of what he has been told) before his last visit to Room C6316 at Georgetown Hospital. “For a moment, I hoped he would take himself off the hook. The only way was an admission of some kind or an apology to his colleagues or an expression of new understanding. Under the last question on ‘Key unanswered questions for Casey,’ I wrote: ‘Do you see now that it was wrong?”’ To commit such Rosebud moments to paper is what it means to tell “the human story” at “the core,” and it is also what it means to write political pornography.
    It is clear that the Obama Administration has not recognized how wrong they were about the sequestration.  Woodward is merely telling the "human story" and he has lashed out because his "story" was not accepted.  

    [Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security] do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

    by MoDem on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 07:15:38 AM PST

    •  Thanks for that link (1+ / 0-)
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      What seems most remarkable in this new 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.
      The genuflection toward “fairness” is a familiar newsroom piety, the excuse in practice for a good deal of autopilot reporting and lazy thinking but a benign ideal. In Washington, however, a community in which the management of news has become the single overriding preoccupation of the core industry, what “fairness” has too often come to mean is a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured. Such institutionalized events as a congressional hearing or a presidential trip will be covered with due diligence, but the story will vanish the moment the gavel falls, the hour Air Force One returns to Andrews.
      Every reporter, in the development of a story, depends on and coddles, or protects, his or her sources. Only when the protection of the source gets in the way of telling the story does the reporter face a professional, even a moral, choice: he can blow the source and move to another beat or he can roll over, shape the story to continue serving the source. The necessity for making this choice between the source and the story seems not to have come up in the course of writing Mr. Woodward’s books, for good reason: since he proceeds from a position in which the very impulse to sort through the evidence and reach a conclusion is seen as suspect, something to be avoided in the higher interest of fairness, he has been able, consistently and conveniently, to define the story as that which the source tells him.
      •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

        Those first two passages could be written today about the sainted Woodward.  

        Notice in today's case he has reached a conclusion and when he does, he has a huge problem.  See the passage I quoted.

        Woodward is Woodward and nothing has changed.  We should not be shocked.  

        [Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security] do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

        by MoDem on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 11:34:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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