Pressed on CBS Sex Abuse, Woodward Hypes His Books, Friends at Network

Welcome to the Bob Woodward filibuster. The veteran journalist appeared on CBS This Morning, Thursday, and was quizzed about the network’s evolving sex scandal. But rather than talk about this difficult subject, Woodward first responded, in an answer that lasted 1 minute and 40 seconds, by talking about his books and friends at the network. 

CBS’s former CEO (Les Moonves), the co-host of This Morning (Charlie Rose), and the executive producer of 60 Minutes (Jeff Fager)  have all been forced out due to allegations of sex abuse, harassment or inappropriate treatment of women. This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell noted the awkwardness for Woodward: “I know this book is with Simon and Schuster. It's a division of CBS, and you’ve had a number of your books featured on 60 Minutes. What do you make of what's happening here?” 

 

 

Rather than respond to the question, Woodward devoted time to praising his publisher, his books and everyone the author knows at 60 Minutes

I know CBS very well. They own Simon and Schuster, my publisher. Done 19 books.... And they are well-led, independent, great leadership Carolyn Reidy, John Karp, my editor, Alice Mayhew, I've worked with her for 47 years on all of those books. A tough, thoughtful editor. 60 Minutes did all of these books. 

Woodward’s mind appeared to wander as he went off topic to talk more about his books: “There is a great producer for 60 Minutes named Bob Anderson who would come down and review the basis of the books I wrote about the Iraq war, about the Afghan war.” 

It got so bad that Gayle King tried to connect this, somehow, back to the question about a culture of sexual misconduct at CBS: “Are you trying say, Bob, we'll be okay at CBS? Is that what you're saying?” 

Finally, 1 minute and 40 seconds later, Woodward cited a New York Times article on CBS and returned to the main topic: “And it shows exactly that there was a cover-up [at CBS], there were lies, and then they finally faced the reality of what was going on with your former leaders.” 

The veteran journalist then singled out the two women on the show, wanting their take. He awkwardly excluded male co-host John Dickerson’s observations: “But you two are women, what's your feeling about this? Not John, but you two because this is about the treatment of women.” 

Rather than talk about her gender, O’Donnell called on CBS to be responsible: “We are journalists and we hold other people accountable... So we are accountable as well in our own shop.” 

A transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more. 

CBS This Morning
9/13/18
8:34:12 to 8:38:14

NORAH O’DONNELL: Fear is published by Simon and Schuster, a division of CBS. Bob Woodward is with us now here in Studio 57. Good morning. 

BOB WOODWARD: Thank you. 

O’DONNELL: I'm going to ask you about FBI director Wray's comments about your book in just a second, but I know this book is with Simon and Schuster. It's a division of CBS, and you’ve had a number of your books featured on 60 Minutes. What do you make of what's happening here? 

BOB WOODWARD: Yes, that's a great question. And CBS has gone through a scandal. let's call it what it is. I know CBS very well. They own Simon and Schuster, my publisher. Done 19 books, the Nixon storm, the Iraq war, the Afghan war, now the Trump storm. And they are well-led, independent, great leadership Carolyn Reidy, John Karp, my editor, Alice Mayhew, I've worked with her for 47 years on all of those books. 

A tough, thoughtful editor. 60 Minutes did all of these books. I remember going back to Watergate and there was a young reporter named Lesley Stahl working on the story. There is a great producer for 60 Minutes named Bob Anderson who would come down and review the basis of the books I wrote about the Iraq war, about the Afghan war. Where did this come from? Let's listen to the tapes. I trusted him. 

GAYLE KING: Are you trying say, Bob, we'll be okay at CBS? Is that what you're saying? 

WOODWARD: That's exactly right. Because you've got strength. People go through tough times. I just from intimate involvement with the books, with 60 Minutes, with — Scott Pelley would come and interview me and do this kind of excavation of the experience I had. So you are going to be fine if you stick with your values. There's a great story in the New York Times  by Jim Stewart about how the decision was made by the CBS board. And it shows exactly that there was a cover-up, there were lies, and then they finally faced the reality of what was going on with your former leaders. 

KING: Well, I actually agree with you and I really appreciate you saying this. It's tough to see your company's name with the word in front of it besieged. That's very difficult. But there are a lot of talented, hard-working people here. I say heads up and onward. But it is difficult, it is a scandal, we're going through it. But as you said, our values and our core is very, very strong. And we're eating into time talking about your book. 

WOODWARD: Okay. But you two are women, what's your feeling about this? Not John, but you two because this is about the treatment of women in a way that is truly outrageous. And I think this society is not going to stand for this anymore. 

KING: I agree. 

WOODWARD: And, I mean, again, look at how this was exposed. The New Yorker magazine. The Los Angeles Times. And confidential sources. People who were willing to be trusted and so there's a connection to all that's going on. 

KING: Agreed. 

O’DONNELL: And just to answer your question, Gayle and I feel like we've spoken publicly about it, perhaps far too many times. We talked about it ten months ago and — 

KING: And we're still talking about it. 

O’DONNELL: We're still talking about it. 

WOODWARD: And you'll be talking with it for a long time. 

O’DONNELL: But that being said, we are journalists and we hold other people accountable. That's the heart of journalism. That's what James Madison talked about. That’s the First Amendment, about holding government officials and those public figures accountable in his words. So we are accountable as well in our own shop. 

 


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