Today's revelation that Bob Woodward failed to share with his editors that he had classified information revealed to him by a senior administration official is very disturbing. For years, media critics have failed to scrutinize Woodward's activities and his connections to insiders that give him important information that ends up in his books and on the front pages of the Washington Post. Because of Woodward's fame he enjoys a autonomous status within the Post's newsroom: the message from the Post through the years is that the rules do not apply to Bob Woodward, ever. Woodward's implication today that Valerie Plamme's outing was essentially an insignificant event which did no harm to national security is offensive and should once in for all demonstrate Woodward's agenda in protecting the current administration.
After a career where Woodward was considered a crusading journalist who had incredible investigative and reporting skills, Woodward has settled into a role of a gossip mongerer and a chummy insider, with clear political motives. His reporting in multiple books about President Clinton, be it The Agenda from 1994, The Choice from 1996 or The Shadow from 2000 were somewhat shallow and showed that Woodward in fact was the one with an agenda to make the President look as bad as possible.
Since 2001, Woodward has written two books and numerous articles about the Bush Administration. These works have proven to be little more than White House propaganda: official spin packaged as groundbreaking insider access and reporting by its author. Woodward has in essence taken what the White House wants the public to know about its decision making regarding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and used it to sell books. Woodward is now little more than a pawn the administration uses to get its positive spin out to the public. Because Woodward has so much credibility among the Washington insiders and has no editorial limits from the Post who benefit from his reporting for his books because they can run the excerpts in advance as exclusives he is a perfect agent for the White House to get its message out.
The latest revelation about Woodward in no way surprises. What does shock and disappoints me is that his colleagues at the Post and in the Washington Press Corp are not showing even the slightest concern about Woodward's motives, and claiming he only made a mistake. Judith Miller and Matt Cooper weren't so lucky and given such deference by their colleagues, which is unfortunate. At least they reported what they learned, instead of sitting on it like Woodward for fear it would hurt his standing with the White House, and with the American public whom Woodward has fleeced over the last ten years with books which are short on insight and long on the authors personal political agenda. .
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- I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.