notes from
the MUCK . . .

How does your garden grow? With muck, muck and more muck! I spent much of today finishing the final muck box and then shifting muck from one box to the next. The first box, which the Big Lad is enthusiastically pointing out, has been rotting down for two years now and once we’d removed the top quarter of unrotted material, we found we’d hit the pay dirt.

Friday, November 18, 2005

That Sound You Hear

Is the reputation of Bob Woodward crashing and burning.

Bob Woodward apologized to The Washington Post yesterday for failing to reveal for more than two years that a senior Bush administration official had told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame, even as an investigation of who disclosed her identity mushroomed into a national scandal.

Woodward, an assistant managing editor and best-selling author, said he told Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. that he held back the information because he was worried about being subpoenaed by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel leading the investigation.

Turns out not only has Woodward had inside info on the Valerie Plame story all this time, but he repeatedly went on TV and talked about the case without disclosing that he had been one of the earliest recipients of the leak, even going so far as to dismiss the whole matter as a whole lotta nothing. For the last year, dude's been spending all his time on Larry King Live pissing and moaning about how making reporters reveal their anonymous sources will destroy the free press. Meanwhile, he's been concealing the fact that he's been part of this story from the get-go. Now he has the nerve to say:

"I was trying to protect my sources. That's job number one in a case like this. . . .

"I hunkered down. I'm in the habit of keeping secrets. I didn't want anything out there that was going to get me subpoenaed."

Pardon me, Bob, and forgive my naivety, but I thought "job number one" for reporters was, you know, to report shit. Is "keeping secrets" really what newswriting is all about? Because here I thought that the raison d'etre for the whole goddamned profession was exposing secrets. Silly me.

Any one of the rest of us can be subpoenaed any time and forced to disclose conversations we've had with others. We give reporters like you a privilege of confidentiality because it's in the public interest that you be able to gather information on our behalf. So I can appreciate the importance of protecting a source, if and when that source provides useful information that gets passed on to the public. But seeing as how you've never written a word about Valerie Plame, just what the fuck have you been protecting, apart from your brown nose and your next book deal?

Ever since he took Nixon down, this guy has been doing nothing but sucking up to powerful people, channeling their bullshit, and calling it news. Christopher Hitchens - who has issues of his own - pretty well nailed Woodward when he called him the “Stenographer to the Stars.” Though I really liked his Supreme Court book, The Brethren, in hindsight even it was nothing but one big anonymous source. So I wanna know: When did reporting just become repeating whatever shit somebody tells you off the record (or not repeating it, as the case may be)? Could we please have just a little actual investigative journalism once in a while? Does anybody besides Seymour Hersh even do that anymore? God damn.