Woodward: two views
Bob Woodward is being blasted as an “obedient appendage of rogue officialdom” by Joe Conason on Salon.com, in an article which seems to sum up the anger of the left-leaning Internet: “Woodward knew then how the leak began, in very specific terms, and used his privileged position to help promote the Republican line.”
The always-useful MediaMatters.org has a nice summary which helped me (who have had my head in the sand for the past two weeks; I’ve barely even looked at a goddamn newspaper lately) get up to speed on the Woodward revelations.
It does look like Woodward has turned into a GOP shill, a useful tool.
But here’s an alternate view, not a vindication, but a reminder, from Bob Somerby, that Woodward may not be the complete sell-out he resembles:
By the way, a word on Woodward: Succumbing to the joys of the tribe, liberals are now scoring the scribe as a store-bought, stenographer, Bush Admin lackey. It feels very good to say such things, but we have a somewhat different view—partly because we actually read Woodward’s last book, Plan of Attack. Yes, there are some silly, Bush-friendly anecdotes in it, several of which we discussed when we did extensive critiques of the book. (The George Tenet “slam dunk” anecdote is the most significant. We even suggested that Woodward must have included it as some sort of quid pro quo for access.) But uh-oh! The book is also full of material which shows the Admin is a very bad light. In substantial detail, Woodward shows Cheney and Bush exceeding the state of the intelligence on Iraq starting in August 2002—and his portrait of Colin Powell preparing his UN report is deeply, deeply embarrassing to Powell. This book is full of material that incriminates the Admin. But few liberals have bothered to say this.
But then, you know how we liberals are! As George Bush has said, reading books can be “hard work”—and it seems that few of us bothered with Plan of Attack. Now we enjoy the pleasures of the tribe, crying, boo-hooing, and blubbering vastly about Vile Woodward’s deep perfidy. But what happened when Plan of Attack was released? Simple! Industrious conservatives grabbed the handful of Bush-friendly anecdotes (“slam dunk” in particular) and trumpeted these unlikely tales to the skies. Everyone on earth heard about them. And liberals, playing the role of the lazy grasshopper, did and said nothing about this. The most famous journalist in DC wrote a book full of Bush-bashing material. But reading books can be hard work. Today, we see a corollary: The joys of the tribe are quite easy.
Big picture? In the past twenty years, conservatives have developed a powerful message machine. They play the role of industrious ants. We sing and play, like the grasshopper.
I didn’t read Plan of Attack, either, but I suspect Somerby has made a useful point, which I, anyway, will keep in mind to temper my annoyance and disappointment at Woodward.
Update: The Washington Post reports that Fitzgerald is calling upon another federal grand jury in light of the Woodward revelations.
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November 20th, 2005 @ 08:32
The truth makes you a shill to the left.
Lies and made up evidence makes you Dan Rather.