Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward’s first tweet is pretty awesome

Bob Woodward joined Twitter on Thursday. He’s not verified yet, but a spokesperson for The Washington Post confirmed that’s really him.

The Post associate editor’s first tweet is a nice jab at himself with a video from 2010 where he struggles to understand why everyone’s so excited about the Post’s iPad app.

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Osama bin Laden was reading Bob Woodward? It’s not news to Woodward.

Journalist Bob Woodward's book, "Obama's Wars." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Journalist Bob Woodward’s book, “Obama’s Wars.” (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

One of our most fabled journalists was not exactly surprised Wednesday with disclosure of declassified government documents that touched on the reading habits of Osama bin Laden.

It included word that at the time of the U.S. raid on his Pakistan compound in 2011, books in bin Laden’s bedroom included “Obama’s War” by Bob Woodward. (New York Times) It’s a chronicle of President Obama’s handling of the war in Afghanistan, which received some good reviews even from the inevitable skeptics of the legendary investigative reporter’s work.

“I heard [about this] years ago,” he said in a phone chat Wednesday. “Somebody in the White House or intel community told me they had found it at his bedside. Read more

New York Times Slim

NYT acknowledges Carol Vogel lifted from Wikipedia

mediawiremorningGood morning. 10-ish, anyone?

  1. NYT acknowledges Carol Vogel lifted from Wikipedia: Part of a July 25 column “used specific language and details from a Wikipedia article without attribution; it should not have been published in that form,” a grisly editor’s note reads. (NYT) | Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy told Ravi Somaiya “editors have dealt with Carol on the issue.” (NYT) | “It seems to me that there can be little dispute about the claim,” Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote Wednesday. “Anyone can see the similarity.” (NYT)
  2. E.W. Scripps Co. and Journal Communications will combine broadcast properties, spin off newspapers: The companies “are so similar and share the deep commitment to public service through enterprise journalism,” Scripps Chairman Richard A.
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Bob Woodward wishes Snowden had come to him instead

In an interview with Larry King scheduled to run Thursday night, Bob Woodward talked about NSA leaker Edward Snowden. “I wish he’d come to me instead of others, particularly The Guardian, and I would have said to him ‘let’s not reveal who you are. Let’s make you a protected source and give me time with this data and let’s sort it out and present it in a coherent way,’ ” Woodward tells King.

He continues:

I think people are confused about whether it’s illegal, whether it’s bad, whether it’s bad policy. So, what he did, and it’s pretty clear he’s held some things back, and he has said he didn’t want to do anything that he deemed harmful. Now, you know, clearly broke the law, like Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon papers broke the law.

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A lawsuit involving a tony Washington, D.C., school has resulted in a subpoena for Bob Woodward’s emails to Sidwell Friends, where his daughter is a student.

The case, also, is a window into the small circle of relationships at the pinnacle of Washington society. For one thing, it’s the second time in a year that the Himmelman family has caused Woodward heartburn. Liza Himmelman Huntington is the sister of Jeff Himmelman, the onetime Woodward book researcher whose semi-authorized biography last year of Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee raised questions about Woodward’s Watergate reporting. In his biography, Himmelman quotes from a 1990 interview in which Bradlee said he feared Woodward had embellished some of the reporting on Watergate: “There’s a residual fear in my soul that that isn’t quite straight.” Woodward strongly objected to having his reporting questioned and called Himmelman “dishonest.” Bradlee and his wife, Sally Quinn, both issued strong statements of support for Woodward, with Bradlee saying, “I always trusted him, and I always will.”

Mary Yarrison and Harry Jaffe, Washingtonian

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Slate: Bob Woodward understands facts, not human beings

John Belushi’s widow, Judy Belushi, hired Tanner Colby to write a John Belushi biography. Along the way, he writes, “I re-reported and rewrote one of Bob Woodward’s books,” the 1984 “Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi.”

There’s no question that he frequently ferrets out information that other reporters don’t. But getting the scoop is only part of the equation. Once you have the facts, you have to present those facts in context and in proportion to other facts in order to accurately reflect reality. It’s here that Woodward fails.

Colby catalogs numerous instances of points in Woodward’s book where he says the reporter gets facts right but gets their significance wrong.

“Whenever people ask me about John Belushi and the subject of Wired comes up, I say it’s like someone wrote a biography of Michael Jordan in which all the stats and scores are correct, but you come away with the impression that Michael Jordan wasn’t very good at playing basketball.” Read more


Politico victorious in ‘Woodward’s War’

With the publication of Bob Woodward’s correspondence with Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling, Politico has achieved a total victory — members of the U.S. news media can spend the day debating the meaning of one word in emails between two hyperconnected Washington insiders.

Just as Bob Woodward’s “extensive reporting” on the machinations that lead to the budget sequester glosses over the content of the bill, Politico’s focus on Sperling’s alleged threat toward the famous reporter reflects its editorial fascination with narratives that are perhaps of limited interest to those on the receiving end of unresolved policy debates, debates that give the people who should be solving problems a license to grab popcorn and gawk. Did Sperling mitigate his “threat” by preceding it with the phrase “as a friend”? Read more


The Duke Chronicle profiles alumnus John Feinstein:

In the 1970s, a young reporter, new to the newsroom of The Washington Post, caught the eye of the paper’s most celebrated journalist. He had watched the young reporter snag five bylines in a Sunday issue as an intern and break a story about the Washington Diplomats, a soccer club, firing their coach. A year later, he had watched the rookie cover the Prince George’s county court system, delivering some of the nation’s best trial coverage on a 15-year-old boy who killed two police officers. The young writer wrote “long, perfect stories with perfect pitch” while covering the incident, the celebrated journalist noted. He gave the reader the relevant facts and added in just the right amount of courtroom color. Most impressively, he did this all on deadline.

Now, this young reporter, John Feinstein, wanted to become a full-time sports writer. The celebrated journalist, Bob Woodward, was stunned. Woodward actively encouraged Feinstein to not go into such a silly thing as sports journalism.

“You have a chance to do something in this business,” Woodward warned. “You’ll never be heard from again.”

“And he said, ‘Fuck you. This is what I want to do, this is what I am,’” recounts Woodward, laughing.

The Duke Chronicle


Parking garage where Bob Woodward met with Deep Throat gets historical marker
Arlington County, Va., has posted a sign marking the infamous underground parking garage where, at parking space 32D, Bob Woodward met with his secret source, “Deep Throat,” as The Washington Post was investigating the Watergate scandal. The sign had been ready for three years, but installation was delayed, awaiting some kind of “pomp.” Finally the government put it up last week. “As with all these changes … you don’t want to lose that something happened and this is where things occurred,” Michael Leventhal, Arlington’s historic preservation coordinator, told WTOP’s Paul Shinkman. A 2005 Washington Post story about the garage noted that it wouldn’t work for a late-night rendezvous anymore; it closes at 11 p.m. || Fact-check: W. Joseph Campbell writes that the sign inaccurately describes the information that Felt provided to Woodward. Read more


Does anyone actually read Woodward’s books?

Tevi Troy says Bob Woodward’s books get the Washington Read — “the phenomenon by which, through a form of intellectual osmosis, a book is absorbed into the Washington atmosphere.” (That’s different from the Index Scan, which is a glance over the credits to see if you’re mentioned.)

According to former White House speechwriter Dan McGroarty, to qualify as a Washington Read, a book not only has to be ambitious; it also needs “to be a book one would feel pressure to have read, and read early.” This need to be ahead of the curve, coupled with demanding jobs that leave little time for reading, pushes people toward the Washington Read.

Troy says the most famous Washington Reads are “The End of History and the Last Man” by Francis Fukuyama; “Team of Rivals” (Doris Kearns Goodwin); “Bush at War” (Woodward); “Obama’s Wars” (Woodward); “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community” (Robert D. Read more