Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Schanberg Vs. Woodward

Or if you'd prefer: Waterston vs. Redford.

In this week's Village Voice, Sidney H. Schanberg tears into the Washington Post's Bob Woodward for his stance on the Wilson/Plame affair:

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.

Also, the indicted Libby has reportedly been a source for Woodward in the past. Critics in the press have suggested that Woodward is too close to some of his sources to provide readers with an undiluted picture of their activities.

His remarks about the Fitzgerald investigation convey the attitude of a sometime insider reluctant to offend—and that is hardly a definition of what a serious, independent reporter is supposed to be. It's a far piece from Watergate.

A few weeks ago, former CIA operative Larry Johnson also tore into Woodward:

Of course, maybe Bob just is not paying attention to what is going on at the Washington Post or has abidicated his duty to break news in the paper. While on the Larry King show this week Woodward announced:

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 of any kind and there was just some embarrassment.

Great news Bob, except there was this other little headline in Saturday's Washington Post: CIA Yet to Assess Harm From Plame's Exposure

So, either you had real news and didn't share it with your reporters or you are just making this up? I personally suspect the latter. 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.

Let's face it. It is a sickening sight when a man who got his start in Washington as a take no prisoners investigative journalist has decided to join the prisoners and excuse their conduct as they destroy national security assets and lie, bald face lie, to the American people. Heck of a job, Bobby!

I'd add some of my own thoughts but - you never know - I might want to write a book about Bob someday and I wouldn't want to offend him and hinder my chances of securing any precious access because that's what it's all about.

Right, Bob?


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