Scoop: Bob Woodward Planned to Burn Kavanaugh as Anonymous Source in Supreme Court Fight

July 1st, 2020 2:37 PM

New York Times media columnist Ben Smith unfurled a scoop on Monday from inside the newsroom of The Washington Post. In 2018, at the height of the confirmation wars over the Brett Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court, “legendary” Nixon-ruining Post reporter Bob Woodward was preparing a bombshell report to disclose that Kavanaugh had been anonymous source for his 1999 book Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate. 

Woodward wanted to reveal that “the judge had publicly denied — in a huffy letter in 1999 to The Post — an account about Kenneth Starr’s investigation of President Bill Clinton that he had himself, confidentially, provided to Mr. Woodward for his book.”

Either Woodward or his publishers didn't want a book that was just about Monicagate. It had to be blurred into Watergate. Even then, leftists like Frank Rich imagined Woodward wanted Clinton "guillotined" for the Lewinsky affair.

So why would Woodward burn a powerful source like this, twenty years later? Except to destroy his nomination? 

Isn’t that part of the whole political game reporters play with each Anony-mouse? They give reporters like Woodward the dirt, and then deny they had anything to do with it? Does anyone believe Kavanaugh would be the only Woodward source who’s ever publicly denied being a source? 

The story wasn’t published, because Post executive editor Martin Baron convinced Woodward it would be bad for the paper and “bad for Bob” to burn Kavanaugh. How do we know this? Anonymous sources inside the Post. Live by the Anony-Mouse, die by the Anony-mouse. 

This sentence cracked me up: “The three, as well as other Post journalists who spoke to me, insisted on anonymity because The Post prefers that its employees not talk to the media.”

We could really use more anonymous sources giving us the scoop about how the Post abuses anonymous sources. 

Smith explained that “the steadfast adherence to the longstanding rules of newspaper journalism and the defense of the institution, which have defined Mr. Baron’s tenure at The Post, prevailed.”

The “longstanding rules” are all about preserving the power of the media to pursue its agenda by stealth, asking the reader to trust them while they use anonymous sources to attempt to dominate the "public conversation." 

Other anonymous sources in this Ben Smith column aren’t as educational. The article turned to the idea that Baron could be facing one of those politically correct racial “reckonings” inside the paper. For example, we’re told “Employees said in a meeting this month that personal favoritism had substituted for clear goals, according to detailed notes of the meeting by a participant. One employee said black video editors felt they had to ask permission to get up even to go to the bathroom, when white producers didn’t.”

Post PR rep Kris Coratti explained they were “just asked to give others a heads-up that they will be away to ensure that the video hub is not unoccupied in the event of unanticipated news developments.”

As we've explained before, conservatives should feel free to dismiss anonymous sources as used by newspapers that have been dedicated to electing Hillary and ruining Trump. After all, liberal journalists dismiss anonymous sources when conservative blogs use them.