Bob Woodward's decision to withhold audio tapes of Trump admitting he was lying about COVID was unethical, the latest example of a now-common practice used to sell books.

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People like John Bolton and Michael Cohen have to save some "surprise revelations" to keep people interested enough to pay for the book when the release date arrives. In that sense, the publishing industry as well as the individual authors bear some responsibility here.

An overlooked factor, though, is how little newspaper reporting of the style that was widespread during Woodward's (and Bernstein's) rise to fame during Watergate. The fact is that books are not now and never have been the appropriate venue for Breaking News.

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The publishing cycle, even for cynically churned-out crap like the Cohen/Bolton books, simply takes too long. Any information you collect is coming out in six to eight months at best, more likely a year-plus.

Woodward certainly is a person who has access to newspapers; WaPo or the Times or literally any newspaper that isn't a far-right tabloid would have taken this story at the time he learned about it.
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The problem runs deeper than Woodward and these tapes, though (which given what we have experienced with Trump for four years, may not have made the enormous difference you think). There simply isn't much investigative journalism happening anymore, the kind that kept people glued to newspapers Back in the Day.
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We are now similarly glued to the internet, but it is a substitute and not a replacement. The economic model of news delivery online provides very little space for stories that take a long time to develop and break. Investigative journalism hasn't disappeared entirely. There is, however, a lot less of it than there used to be. And less of it than we need.

20 thoughts on “GOODBYE BROADSHEETS”

  • I find it difficult to imagine online news outlets ever being able to come close to the amount of investigative journalism that used to happen, how amazingly fortunate for business folk who really don't want a lot of attention.

  • As I recall, Woodward wrote a book about what a hero "W" was after 9/11. Ever since Watergate made him famous he is only in it for the money.

    I agree with both of you and I miss real journalism.

  • Dubya WAS a hero in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, with approval ratings between 80 and 90%. Then he let neocon technocrats like the second coming of McNamara talk him into unfocused half-wars, with mealy-mouthed rules of engagement and consequently occupation.

  • Capitalism.
    You really cannot ask for any better behavior under a system that puts the enriching of the self at the expense of the many.

    Or is it just another example of 'American Exceptionalism?'

    To keep the record straight: George W. Bush & Co. are war criminals deserving of spending some time at The Hague.

  • Dubya wasn't, and isn't, a hero. Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell and dozens of others at the top of the administration committed the war crime known as "aggressive war."

    "Aggressive war" is why some Germans and Japanese were hung starting in late 1945.

    But a "hero," f*** no.

  • Thank you. "W" was a hero like John Wayne was a hero. A complete phony created by the entertainment industry. As Ray said, Capitalism at it's finest.

  • A hero in the “immediate aftermath of 9/11” is what I specified. Americans of all ideological stripes overwhelmingly agreed, as already noted.

    By “Americans” I don’t mean to slur the sophisticated leftists who understand Dubya’s possible complicity with the Mossad, framing innocent Muslims.

  • "The day after September 11 was the first day of a new era, which the US faced with a unified resolve, strengthened by a revived sense of patriotism and the goodwill and sympathy of the world. In retrospect, my country could have done so much with this opportunity. It could have treated terror not as the theological phenomenon it purported to be, but as the crime it was. It could have used this rare moment of solidarity to reinforce democratic values and cultivate resilience in the now-connected global public.

    Instead, it went to war."

    Free Edward Snowden

  • “Crime” and “theological phenomenon” are far from mutually exclusive, not on 9/11/01, nor across globe and time.

    But agreed, free Edward Snowden, since swanning popinjay Chelsea Manning is free. Snowden acted on principle.

  • GWB's presence in the White House may have been one of Bin Laden's motivations, after all, GHWB contaminated Saudi Arabia with pork munching non-believers.

  • I didn't really consider the term "theological phenomenon" when I copied the quote. Now that I have, I dispute that there's any such thing, and I think it's pretty bigoted to claim that there is.

  • I'm sure I'll be labeled a loon conspiracy theorist but I have had a problem with the events of 911 from the get go. There were far too many questionable particulars of that day including first hand accounts of fighter jets flying over Shanksville, explosions happening in the basement of the twin towers not to mention building 7's inexplicable collapse and multiple video evidence taken by the US government and never seen, of the pentagon attack. The most glaring being the visual collapse of the twin towers which immediately brought to mind a controlled demolition. There's more specific and detailed issues surrounding the events of 911 than those few examples but on the day of, as a result of my personal cognitive dissonance with the official narrative vs what I was seeing, I never felt that sense of American pride or unity. I just thought there was something wrong about the events and there needed to be greater clarity. GWB stole the presidency and then proceeded to run up the debt along with the death count of Afghanis and Iraqis under false pretenses which fattened defense contractor wallets and has kept us in a constant state of war. GWB was no hero to me before, immediately after or with hindsight.

    And Bob Woodward's withholding of Trump incriminating himself, I agree it's unethical. That said, this presidency isn't business as usual and I'm not sure anything would force Republicans to hold Trump accountable. I've been numbed by the lies and obvious criminal behavior of Trump which hasn't moved the needle. I'm nonplussed about Woodward's questionable behavior in favor of lining his pockets.

  • A friend recently cited Will Stancil's tweet that "we've turned over journalism to a class of parasitic commentators, who feel as if their job is to explain that everything is the only way it can ever be and nothing can ever change." And it does seem as if newspapers and news channels in general have become top-heavy with commentary and light with on-the-ground investigative reporting. (NBC -TV seems now to rely on a total of 3 reporters to cover the entire globe) And it's probably no stretch to assume that the big salaries are being paid to the suit-and-tie class in the studios. My friend agreed that this bears a curious parallel to what Ed has described before as having developed in Academe: that the big investment is now in administrators with ever more mysterious duties and esoteric titles, the bulk of actual teaching left to underfed part-time instructors.

  • It’s not strictly speaking necessary to attach any more significance to “theological phenomenon”, in this context anyway, than the all too familiar self-righteous mass murders justified by practitioners of organized religion, especially the Abrahamic religions, across globe and time since recorded history began. “Bigoted”? How sensitive!

    But if as I suspect your sudden circumspection is from that odd dissonance Western leftists indulge where specifically Islam is concerned, we can renew the ritual partisan obeisances as you like. 9/11 was imperialist America’s geopolitical chickens coming home to roost, and our alliance with sinister Israel was the real cause of that defensive strike.

  • Inky, dood, lyin'fuckbaggery IS your true calling, I know–but do you not understand that other people were born before Nixon and Reagan and the Bushes?

    It's way past time for you to show us all that evidence for Ed being a cheerleader for Al Queda.

    You stupid, smirking fuck.

  • I'm afraid poor Demo, the senile vulgarian, is the constantly furious person around here. I simply puncture leftist sanctimony balloons. That includes the pathetic, ahistorical "Bad America, Muslim Victims" mantra you–and RudePundit–chant reflexively.

  • The problem is there nationally – but 1000% worse locally. There is now zero coverage of school board, city council, county government in most places. So often it is now extreme right wingers who hate taxes of any kind and services to anyone who is not *them* who twist every action of every government into a "scandal" to be pumped on Facebook ( america's news source ). It is a recipe for disaster and fraud.

  • @ Chuck:

    Twaddle is what the inkblot sees as "received wisdom".

    I've not read anything that he's ever typed that didn't sound like it came from a script that he's paid to adhere to.

    That he's a lying sack-of-shit is obvious to any serious person.

    But, I suppose when you're as busy as he is making millions in meatspace you really can't waste a lot of time thinking up things on your own.

  • @ demo:

    Fret not.

    "I've been called worse things by better men."

    Note that the quote author's son presides over a country that has an infinitesimal fraction of the Covid deaths we got here.

    Hee hee.

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