Saturday, November 19, 2005

Poor Attempt At Spin

The Washington Post has come out today with an editorial that attempts to defend their star "investigative" reporter Bob Woodward.

The editorial page editors seem to think that a general advancement of the principle of protected reporter-source relationships is all that the Post's reader-sheep needs to see to soothe any hurt feelings over the outrage.

Notice, though, how they first distance themselves from the controversy:

Here we remind readers that the editorial page operates separately from those who gather and publish news in The Post. Mr. Woodward doesn't answer to us, and he has no input on our page.

From this comfortable perch, the editorial endeavors to spin this matter to the satisfaction of the average federal government employee who relies upon the Post for a coherent view of the world. They fail miserably. I need not go into my usual explication, a link is provided for those who are interested. Suffice it to say that the best they could come up with is:

Many of those who condemn Mr. Woodward applauded when The Post recently revealed the existence of CIA prisons around the world, a story that relied on unnamed sources.


Is there a distinction to be made based on the motives of the leakers? If so, Mr. Woodward might have had to pass up his first big scoops three decades ago, because his Watergate source, Deep Throat -- recently revealed as FBI official W. Mark Felt -- was disgruntled at having been passed over for the post of FBI director.

A piss poor effort, if I may say so myself (and I would know).

Now to the nitty-gritty. This editorial ultimately fails because it avoids altogether the main complaint of media watchers everywhere about the actions in question of Bob "The Slitherer" Woodward.

Most people couldn't care less if Woodward runs his book enterprises like a whorehouse, that's his business. What is most egregious here is the fact that Woodward publicly attacked both the prosecutor and the investigation. When you do something like that, which all intrepid scribes do from time to time, you had best do so from a safe distance.

Given that Woodward is deeply implicated in the events of the "Plamegate" leak, the boldness of his attacks is the most puzzling aspect of his involvement. He acted if he believed himself to be protected somehow, even as he was protecting his source(s).

Woodward's silence for the last two and a half years can be viewed as the dog that didn't bark. When Fitzgerald determines why this hound kept quiet, he may very well find the evidence he needs to close this case.


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