Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Alas, poor Woodward! We knew him America.

Arianna Huffington wrote a fantastic blog post today Bob Woodward, the one time investigative reporter and half of the duo who exposed one of the biggest presidential scandals of all time.

Huffington took the words right out of my mouth with her post. Bob Woodward was once to me a man who was an example of what the media ought to be. He was responsible for exposing a scandal of such magnitude that all scandals thereafter would be compared to. Bob Woodward had a place in my mind as a member in a pantheon of journalistic gods. He was an American hero. If anybody could expose the truth behind the Bush-Cheney cabal it would be Bernstein or Woodward. However, the powers that be are alchemists; able to transmute wrong into right and hero into subservient slave.

Huffington writes that Woodward was granted "unparalleled access" to president Bush in order to write books on the administration. His time with the president and the administration ranges from before Bush was inaugurated right up to the proverbial Guns of August. He sat in on numerous conversations with high ranking senior administration officials and the president. The information that Woodward was privy to, the information that he knew then and he knows now could probably blow the roof off the White House and cause the collapse of the establishment. Huffington goes on to point out that Woodward chose a different path and that he is "so awed by his proximity to power that he buys whatever he is being sold." She points out examples of Woodward's reporting style which can only be summed up as anecdotes that one might hear from a stalker who eroticize the idiosyncrasies of their prey. Banal factoids that neither illuminate or conclude anything about the administration and the president.

Then, in the past weeks, we all learn, that Bob Woodward had heard the name Valerie Plame. He knew that she was a CIA agent and wife of Joseph Wilson, a man who presented a logical and conclusive argument against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. All this he knew because of his access and did he report it? No. Huffington points out that Woodward had the audacity to say on the Jim Lehrer show in the spring of 2004, at which point the Valerie Plame affair was in full swing, that he witnessed "moral determination, which we've not seen in the White House maybe in 100 years." Can you believe the impertinence of such a comment when he himself had heard and witnessed the outing of a CIA agent by White House officials, an act nothing short of treason?!

It could be possible that if Woodward would have divulged the conversations he sat in on, transcribed, and witnessed he could have affirmed his place in history. He could have done so by exposing a fabricated and ill conceived plan to invade a nation that posed no immediate threat to our nation. Instead he chose to keep quiet and report on innocuous goings on in the administration in the midst of the planning of a preemptive illegal war. No mention of right or wrong, he never once hinted or suggested that the president or the administration was going in one direction or the other. Huffington even ventures to "wonder what All the President's Men would have been like if Woodward had written it alone."

Why? My english teacher junior year in high school, one of the most amazing teachers I have ever had, taught us that when doing critical thinking or analyses you must not explain how or what but why. It seems that Woodward no longer posses his ability to preform such thought. Woodward at one point was a name that was synonymous with exposing injustices and delivering the truth to the people. When I had heard that Woodward knew about the treason committed by this administration and had only just broken his silence I was shocked and gravely disappointed. Huffington suggests that Woodward is just a "dumb blonde of American journalsim." I see something not so trite. It seems to me that the black shadow cast by this president and this administration has has managed to taint one of our nations one-time treasured guardians of justice.

I wonder if that when Woodward goes to bed at night knowing what he knows does he think about the thousands of innocent civilians and the thousands of young American men and women that have perished due to his inaction. When he works in his office and glances over at his two Pulitzer prizes does he think about how he played party to one of the greatest deceptions of this nation and world. I wonder if his conscience is still somewhat in tact to even comprehend the deafening and destructive ripples of his silence. Even if it was intact and he suddenly came to his senses and exposed all that he knew, it would be too little too late.


Blogger tornwordo said...

Right on. I was similarly affected when that news of his "previous knowledge" was revealed. And you gotta love Arianna.

5:36 AM  
Blogger Spider said...

I am wondering if it was the close proximity to power as you say, or could it be simply a function of age. How old is Woodward - at least in his 60's... maybe he just doesn't have the drive or the stamina or the desire to do a real piece of journalism - maybe he is tired and content to make his bucks and follow the road of least resistance...

Not to say that that is the right thing to do, and it certainly shoots his credibility all to hell... but maybe he is exhausted and has begun to mellow in his goldeb years...

6:39 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Great commentary and absolutely right on Adam! I wonder how he lives with himself.

10:04 AM  
Blogger jjd said...

Does idealism fade with youth? It would certainly seem that woodward would subscribe to such a philosophy. Woodward has written so many powerful pieces for the Post over the years, it's a shame that he will be forever tarnished by his audacity here. Great post adam, true to the tee!

11:35 AM  
Blogger Knute123 said...

Woodward should never have appeared on television criticizing an investigation he had insider knowledge about without disclosing it.

That alone to me is the utmost violation of his journalistic integrity. He played a shill and pundent for the administration under false pretenses.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Hypoxic said...

Great post Adam.

I think there is more to this Woodward affair than loss of idealism or advancing age. Just can't put my finger on it right now.

6:35 PM  

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