Editor’s Note: Tis the preseason of the 2018 midterms. This past week saw the release of Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House to much fanfare from the corporate “news” media. Unsurprisingly, Trump administration officials argued that Woodward’s work included made up quotes wrongly attributed to them.
Long ago Woodward and his Washington Post cohort Carl Bernstein’s “breaking” of Watergate reached mythic status in US journalism and political history. Yet myth is usually divorced from fact, and for a reason. When one of the principal figures in this storied saga has long-established ties to the political establishment and intelligence community, as the article below by investigative writer Russ Baker demonstrates, the myth is intended to reinforce a specific agenda, in this case the taken-for-granted suggestion that Woodward is a disinterested writer and the paragon of integrity.
Is America’s favorite investigative reporter a government operative? Political commentator Russ Baker offers intriguing evidence!
By Russ Baker
(HUSTLER MAGAZINE July 2011)
In June 2009,Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward traveled to Afghanistan with General Jim Jones, then President Obama’s National Security Advisor, to meet with General Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of forces there. Why did Jones allow this journalist to accompany him? Because he knew that Woodward could be counted on to deliver the company line—the military line. In fact, Jones was essentially Woodward’s patron.
The New Republic’s Gabriel Sherman pointed out that when Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee hosted a 50th-birthday party for Woodward’s wife, reporter Elsa Walsh,“Jones was a guest of Woodward. ”According to Sherman, one attendee told him, “Woodward and Elsa were glued to Jones at the cocktail party before the dinner started.”
In September 2009, McChrystal (or someone close to him) leaked a document to Woodward that essentially forced Obama’s hand. The President wanted time to consider all options on what to do about Afghanistan. But the leak, publicizing the military’s “confidential” assertion that a troop increase was essential, cast the die, and Obama had to go along. Nobody was happier than the Pentagon—and, it should be said, its allies in the vast military-contracting establishment.
FireDogLake.com chronicled the developments in a pungent essay: “Apparently General McChrystal and the Petraeus cabal aren’t willing to wait for their Commander in Chief to set the strategy. Prior to the President’s interviews, McChrystal’s people were already telling journalists that they were ‘impatient with Obama,’ as Nancy Youssef reported. This ‘Power Play’… included a veiled threat that McChrystal would resign if he didn’t get his way.
“And, sure enough, just hours after the Commander in Chief was on the airwaves, somehow McChrystal’s classified report hit the Washington Post…compliments of Bob Woodward, no less. Wow, what a coincidence!”
This episode highlights a crucial aspect of Woodward’s career that has been ignored by most of the media. Simply put, Woodward is the military’s man and always has been.
For almost four decades, under cover of his supposedly “objective” reporting, Woodward has represented the viewpoints of the military and intelligence establishments. Often he has done so in the context of complex inside maneuvering of which his readers have little clue.
Typically, Woodward uses information he obtains from his main sources (much of it self serving) to gain access to others. He then gets more “secrets” from them, and so on down the line. Woodward’s unique persona as the main repository of this inside dope has been key to the relentless success machine that his media colleagues have perpetuated.
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