11/17/2005: Major League Conflicts of Interest...
Jack Shafer of Slate writes:
It's not a cover up - but what the hell is it?:
"...But first a digression: What sort of journalist publishes a "statement" in his paper as opposed to writing a story? What sort of journalist refuses to talk to his own newspaper when making such a revelation, as Woodward did? Today's story reads, "Woodward declined to elaborate on the statement he released to the Post late yesterday afternoon and publicly last night. He would not answer any questions, including those not governed by his confidentiality agreement with source."
But wait, I have additional digressions! What sort of journalist, even one writing a book—Woodward is always working on a book—withholds blockbuster information about a major investigation, prosecution, and First Amendment battle from his editors until the 11th hour, as Woodward did? According to the Post story, he only told them last month. What sort of journalist doesn't use the information he's had since mid-June 2003 to break bigger news about the subject? Was he worried about the legal exposure his bosses might suffer? Or was he holding on to it—and his access to top officials in an unfolding story—for his book? End of digression. (Or maybe I should refashion my digression into a "statement" and have Slate publish it.)...
But I'll tell ya what it is...several Major League Conflicts of Interest and despicable behavior.
I sent Dan Froomkin (WaPo) a letter about Bob Woodward to pass along to the editors about this. Click on the "more" button to read this letter.
Dear Mr. Dan Froomkin:
I would like to comment on the Bob Woodward situation. I really feel it is important to write about the outrage perpetrated by him in this criminal investigation over the Plame matter.
I have seen (on TV) Mr. Woodward numerous times in the past year (s) interviewed and discussing his book, “Plan of Attack” (which I read) and he would either avoid the critical conclusion of his own research and book comments or dismiss and deflect certain criticisms of the Bush Administration and Presidential Motives on topics. He was basically using the gravitas of his position, reputation and *history* of pursuing past stories even to the Highest Offices to *endorse* the Bush administration. But - I use the word *endorse* loosely in that I can’t recall if he outright endorsed the Bush candidacy, but by avoiding and deflecting criticism of the President and his administration, based on supposed “inside information” and glimpses only he had access to via these interviews, it was if he was saying: “Oh, here’s what I KNOW and there’s NOTHING to worry about because otherwise I’d have reported IT. I’m the GUY who reported on Watergate. You can TRUST me.”
But had Bush not been re-elected…of what value then would all this “background” information and time spent by Mr. Woodward have been for his book? Not completely worthless, but no where near the value it has in covering matters on a current/existing administration and its policies than it would be if there were a different Presidency and administration. Who’d want to read a book about the old-news administration and the no-longer President?
So, Mr. Woodward would have both a personal bias towards deflecting criticism based on his celebrity-personal access and favored status granted by the president and his Officials for getting information and rare interviews unavailable to others. But secondly, he would have motivation to be biased towards what can only be described as a monetary self-motivated interest in this administration staying in power to help his own book sales and career. Conflict of interest on both sides of this and despicable behavior.
Finally, Mr. Woodward’s claim to impartiality as a journalist is compromised by his failure to disclose this information. But further, as a complete moral and ethical lapse in asserting the same “privilege for confidential sources” as asserted by Ms. Judy Miller – and REJECTED by the courts. Mr. Woodward has absolutely no standing to claim he has either the legal right to such a claim under the very self-same circumstances as Ms. Miller. Nor does he have any moral right to cover up a crime or impede a criminal investigation. None what-so-ever!! And Ms. Miller's case has proved no legal or moral "privilege" exists in this particular case on many levels of this issue. Mr. Woodward has completely failed under any notion of journalistic integrity OR under any idea of fulfilling his citizenship duty for refusing to come forward with information he personally had. And then commenting on it AS IF he was an impartial observer.
This is horrible and an outrage every bit as heinous as Ms. Miller’s actions have been revealed to be under the harsh light of day and legal scrutiny. Mr. Bob Woodward should no longer be working at the Washington Post.
Thanks for allowing me to comment, and please pass this along to your editors.
PS..it was your brother, Michael, who *suggested* I become part of the Blog world and provided information and the impetus for me to blog. And I'm still enjoying it - thanks to him!! *smile*
Karen on 11.17.05 @ 07:16 AM CST