Not Up to Snuff: Woodward Knocks NYT’s Use of Anonymous Op-Ed

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward gave the first TV interview for his new book, Fear, to CBS (who owns the publisher). What most in the liberal media will probably take away from his CBS Sunday Morning appearance was that he told viewers to “hope to God we don’t have a crisis” under Trump, and a plea for them to “wake up” to that reality. What will most likely get overlooked was his criticism of The New York Times for publishing of that anonymous op-ed from a supposed senior administration official.

Interviewer David Martin, CBS’s national security correspondent, noted that the op-ed was seen by many as a confirmation of the book’s claims since it came out just a day after book excerpts were leaked a week early:

The theme of Woodward's book, that aides fear what the President might do if allowed to follow his impulses, received an unusual confirmation last week when The New York Times published this anonymous article written by a person described as a “senior official” in the Trump administration. “I work for the President, but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

Woodward insisted that he didn’t know the identity of the op-ed’s author. However, he argued that knowing who wrote it was “very important” to the story and understanding what their role was. “It's very important who it is. It's very important whether this is somebody who witnessed and participated,” he told Martin.

 

 

And quite frankly, if there was a person in the White House or the administration who wanted to tell me what's in that op-ed piece, I would say, ‘okay, name me who was there, what was is the specific incident,’” Woodward said. “As you know from having read my book, there are dates and times and participants. I wouldn't have used it.

Martin probed deeper, asking if it was because the outrageous suggestions made in the op-ed were too vague. “Well, too vague and not -- does not meet the standards of trying to describe specific incidents. Specific incidents are the build building blocks of journalism, as you well know,” Woodward added.

Many in the liberal media praised the op-ed because they said it essentially confirmed everything in the book, although many people named and quoted in the book deny what’s attributed to them.

During an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie refuted what Woodward wrote about him:

I can tell you this much. All I know about what Bob Woodward wrote about me in the book was profoundly wrong. And he never picked up the phone to fact-check with me about a conversation that he quotes verbatim and words he quotes verbatim from me that I never said. So all I can tell you is, not that Bob is making things up, but that Bob may, in fact, be relying upon people who are making things up and he didn't do his homework.

Given the denials, Woodward’s criticism of The New York Times just adds another layer onto the already dubious situation.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

 

 

CBS
Sunday Morning
September
10:02:35 a.m. Eastern

(…)

DAVID MARTIN: The theme of Woodward's book, that aides fear what the President might do if allowed to follow his impulses, received an unusual confirmation last week when The New York Times published this anonymous article written by a person described as a “senior official” in the Trump administration. “I work for the President, but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

BOB WOODWARD: I have no idea who it is. It's very important who it is. It's very important whether this is somebody who witnessed and participated. And quite frankly, if there was a person in the White House or the administration who wanted to tell me what's in that op-ed piece, I would say, “okay, name me who was there, what was is the specific incident.” As you know from having read my book, there are dates and times and participants. I wouldn't have used it.

MARTIN: Too vague?

WOODWARD: Well, too vague and not -- does not meet the standards of trying to describe specific incidents. Specific incidents are the build building blocks of journalism, as you well know.

(…)


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