In Gushy WashPost Book Review, Ex-NYT Editor Calls Bob Woodward 'Truth's Gold Standard'

September 9th, 2018 10:12 PM

The Washington Post published a long advertisement for Bob Woodward's new book Fear on Sunday. Well, to be more precise, the Post printed a book review by former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson that sounded like an advertisement. It won't be surprising to see Abramson making the book's cover in later printings with this ooze: 

During Watergate, Woodward and Bernstein were often alone on the story. Now, the din of daily disclosure and opinion is almost deafening. But what was important about Woodward’s meticulous reporting in the 1970s is even more invaluable today: His utter devotion to “just the facts” digging and his compulsively thorough interviews, preserved on tape for this book, make him a reliable narrator. In an age of “alternative facts” and corrosive tweets about “fake news,” Woodward is truth’s gold standard.

Oh wait! That last sentence is already on the book's Amazon page. They also quote her calling it "explosive.... devastating.... jaw-dropping." Ka-ching! 

The online headline (and it a top item online) was: "Bob Woodward’s meticulous, frightening look inside the Trump White House".

The headline on the front of the Outlook section was "Bob Woodward's sober, just-the-facts depiction of Trump's 'Crazytown'."

Inside, a hotter headline: "The president's childishness and cruelty jump off the page." Abramson wrote "As a profile of Trump, the book is devastating. Even the most jaded readers will be struck by numerous examples of his childishness and cruelty."

It's almost too bad that Woodward didn't return the favor. Instead, he slashed the anonymous New York Times op-ed on CBS as "too vague" and not up to his standards. Just as Abramson lamely used PolitiFact to argue Hillary Clinton was "fundmentally honest and trustworthy," she urgently sells the idea that Woodward is objective, even as she quotes his verdict that Trump's presidency was an ongoing "nervous breakdown" of the executive branch. Somehow that's not adversarial. Liberals always insist that their hot takes are The Truth. 

Woodward has clung to old-fashioned notions of journalistic objectivity....Woodward’s flat, reportorial tone seems like the perfect antidote to the adversarial roar on Fox or Twitter. The authority of dogged reporting, utterly denuded of opinion, gives the book its credibility.

Abramson's review may have been "in the can" before administration officials, including chief of staff John Kelly and defense secretary Jim Mattis, denounced their quotes in the book as false. Instead, she wrote:

Fear provides a more complete picture, based on multiple interviews with some of the president’s closest advisers. Woodward resists the fast-paced reporting demanded by the Internet, visiting his subjects away from their offices and testing their memories again and again. From the very first pages of the gripping prologue it is a shocking view.

These liberals really think they can wave their Jedi hands and think we'll all agree that they are the most talented and intelligent and objective arbiters of the political scene we can imagine. The actual Trump officials can say their quotes were Fake News, and the Post is sticking to "Woodward is so meticulous!"