October 03, 2006

What A Strange, Strange Man

Ouch! Arianna Huffington gives Woodward a bitch-slap:
Without some accounting in the new book about how Woodward himself could have been in a state of denial for the first five years of the Bush presidency, it's hard not to reach the "damning conclusion" that Woodward didn't write "State of Denial" because he suddenly realized Iraq was going to hell. He wrote it because he realized his reputation was going to hell.

Woodward, the classic Washington weathervane, knows, with his unerring weathervane instinct, that it's now okay to criticize Bush -- and that, indeed, anyone who wants a seat at the Big Persons' table after Bush leaves has to now admit Iraq has been a disaster. And Woodward definitely doesn't want to give up his special seat at the Big Persons' table.
Meanwhile, the NYT's David Carr reports that Woodward once again let other papers scoop WaPo by providing them with advance copies of his books.
People do business with Mr. Woodward because when he is good, he is very, very good. But as an army of one, with a name that has its own purchase on the American consciousness, he can do as he pleases, writing his books, going on television, dropping into the newspaper when a story heats up.

Critics have already said that he missed the Bush story while standing in the middle of it. But his work is not so much beyond consequence as above it, held aloft by his spectacular career and a superseding contract with the reader that he will take them inside the parlor.

Blogs and podcasts may be the future, but for the time being the headlines are still coming from one of journalism’s big names, working in the fusty confines of a hardcover book.
I am often reminded of the saying that journalism is part of the entertainment business, not the news business. Woodward walks the line.
“It takes a long time to smoke these things out,” Mr. Woodward said. “You can’t do that on a daily basis.”
It has taken Woodward six years, by my count, to smoke out the truth on Bush & Co.


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