Archive for October 3rd, 2006

Bob Camp

October 3, 2006

No, not that one.

Bob Woodward. I don’t know if anyone’s been following the rhubarb over Bob’s new book. If you have, are you as confused as I am? I haven’t read the book and don’t plan to (Bob’s writing couldn’t be more dull), so my confusion is really over the rhubarb, not the book.

Bob’s book apparently makes several claims about what the Bush administration knew, when it knew it, what its public statements were at those times, etc. and so forth, all of which paints a pretty unflattering portrait of the administration. (Recall that Woodward’s first book on the Bush admin. was very flattering.) The nice thing about the book, apparently, is that it doesn’t base all this on anonymous sources. People actually went on the record in Woodward’s interviews. Very highly placed people. On the record. Maybe.

See, the thing is, now those people are going on the news and claiming they never said what Woodward claims they said in those interviews. Condi never said Rummy wouldn’t return her calls. Andy Card never advocated that the president find a new Secretary of Defense. Laura Bush never said she thought Rummy was hurting the president. Gen. Abizaid never said Iraq was snafu.

So where does that leave us? Woodward says they said it. On the record. He has The Notes, as the journalists say. But now they say they didn’t say it. The possible axe-grinding scenarios quickly spin out of control, and all of them — that I can think of, anyway — contain some number of absurdities.

Who are we supposed to believe? And, given what he reports they said, how is it possible that Woodward didn’t see this coming? Would he not have recorded all the interviews to prevent these he said-he said conflicts?

I don’t know enough about how journalists work, I guess, but I can’t figure out how Woodward could have let himself get into this entirely predictable situation. And more importantly: who are we to believe?