Originally published 03/28/2013
Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, and the recently published A Matter of Principle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Gradually, inexorably, the great Watergate fraud is unraveling. The Knights of Revelation, 40 years onward, are being exposed, in the light of analysis unclouded by cant and emotionalism, as the myth-makers they always were. Bob Woodward, unable to resist the temptation to try again and again to be at the forefront of investigative journalism, is being steadily exposed as a chronically dishonest myth-maker. Carl Bernstein, his Watergate partner, is at least cautious enough not to tempt the fates with a regime of endless returns to the well of public gratitude for spurious and destructive exposés. Though there is no sign that he is conscious of the proportions of their original Mt. Rushmore–sized canard, he has been relatively uncontroversial these intervening decades, sheltering in the greasy slick Vanity Fair.
Originally published 03/04/2013
The week's developments include a pope emeritus for the first time in six centuries, federal budget cuts seemingly designed by Sweeney Todd, and the visit by one of the NBA's all-time rebounders (Dennis Rodman) to the son of one of the world's greatest sportsmen (that would be North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un, whose late father claimed to have shot five holes-in-one on his very first golf outing).And yet somehow, legendary Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward thrust himself at the center of the news with his claim that he had been menaced by an unnamed White House official. That's serious stuff. Woodward has been getting under the skins of presidential administrations for four decades now....One close Woodward observer has little tolerance for this latest episode."Woodward was caught out in a lie when he represented Sperling's admonition as a threat," said Max Holland, author of Leak: Why Mark Felt Became Deep Throat."But that misrepresentation is only the latest in a long list of prevarications that go all the way back to Watergate and the fabled Deep Throat. No other journalist would be allowed to get away with this kind of serial behavior."It's a self-inflicted wound. A great reporter Woodward may well still be. But his behavior has called into question his standing as a reliable narrator.