Monday, February 13, 2006


The President's Man (November 16, 2005)

So Bob Woodward was involved in Plamegate, too. It turns out a “senior Bush administration official” told him Plame’s identity and status as CIA operative in mid-July, 2003, before Novak’s infamous column outing Plame appeared. That Woodward was at the center of the leak scandal didn’t stop him from going on Larry King a number of times and attacking Fitzgerald. Talking Points thought Woodward sitting on the info wasn’t a huge deal, because he never wrote a story about it. Should he tell us everything he knows? A reader later commented that, yes, it was a big deal, because he had just written a book about it!
Woodward was about to publish (or had just published) a book purporting to give an accurate picture of the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. The fact that Woodward kept all of this secret under these circumstances just destroys his integrity as a journalist.
The Coffee House recalls a 1996 Didion essay on Woodward’s journalistic techniques, highlighting the "disinclination of Mr. Woodward to exert cognitive energy on what he is told." Digby, of course, labels Woodward a willing tool of the administration. Whatever motivations Woodward had for sitting on this info, his reputation – forged as an intrepid journalist revealing the lies and ensuing cover up of a crooked President – is now tarnished as a compromised journalist participating in the lies and ensuing cover up of a crooked President. Full circle, I guess. Power is seductive. Just look at Ariana Huffington, red-hot critic of Judith Miller’s cavorting with top administration officials. After just one dinner with Ahmad Chalabi, she writes a puff piece on his clothes and demeanor, forgetting to actually ask him anything substantial. From the beginning I suspected that Plamegate would be as big or a bigger scandal for mainstream media than for the administration. A number of us suspected from the beginning that the Bush administration fabricated evidece in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. We also knew that -- contrary to right-wing propaganda -- the media is inherently conservative. But what we didn't know is how complicit the top names in the industry were with the Bushies.
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