Everybody was talking about Bob Woodward’s claim that the White House threatened him. Typical Obama bullying, the right-wing pundits all said, then Michael Smerconish, that insanely fair-minded guy, read the actual email. Suddenly, it didn’t seem so threatening. I’ve seen more ominous threats on mattress labels.
The interesting part was hearing right-wingers defend Woodward while a lot of liberal blogs went after him. That seemed kind of a reversal. But then it struck me how little I have liked Woodward all these years. I read the Watergate books, “All the President’s Men” and “The Final Days,” and thought they were OK. At least they relied on information that had been pretty well confirmed by the time the books appeared.
Then I tried to read “The Brethren,” his book about the Supreme Court, and gave it up about halfway through. I just was not willing to accept his ubiquitous use of anonymous sources whose reliability I had no way of determining.
A few years later, when I was temporarily a member of the Book of the Month Club, I accidentally ordered a copy of “Veil,” his book on the CIA. I’ve tried several times over the years to give it a read but have never gotten more than a few dozen pages into it. Again, I just am not willing to trust Woodward as much as he wants me to. I’ve never attempted another of his books and probably never will.
Last week’s flare-up did nothing to cause me to reconsider.