Donald Trump, as is his wont, gave an absolutely bonkers interview this week, this time to venerate reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of The Washington Post. The transcript, which reads like the transcript of a young child’s screed about wanting to be king of the playground, is chock-full of bizarre ramblings from the Republican presidential frontrunner. And through it all, Woodward and Costa try in vain, sometimes hilariously so, to get a single coherent answer out of Trump.
Bob Woodward is not a reliable reporter. Readers of All the President's Men, which admirably chronicles several crucial errors and misrepresentations that he and Carl Bernstein made in the course of their—otherwise excellent!—Watergate reporting, have a sense of this fact. His old boss, the legendary editor Ben Bradlee, never really trusted him, wondering repeatedly and on the record whether the story and mythology of Deep Throat—the linchpin of the Watergate story that Woodward and his partner Carl Bernstein sold to the American public—was in fact a giant fraud.
Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward received a "veiled threat" from the White House last week, The Politico reported on Thursday. What as the "threat"? "I think you will regret staking out that claim." Chilling! The threatener, Ben Smith later reported, was White House Economic Council Director Gene Sperling, who'd emailed Woodward over the origins of tomorrow's government sequestration: Woodward claims it was the Obama administration's idea; Sperling disagrees. (Other sentences from the email: "I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today," "But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.") Surely, you can see the Nixon parallels? The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin could: "Obama will never be Reagan,"she tweeted last night, "but he could be the Dems Nixon." Probably not, and if he is, Woodward—whose journalistic practice, once so fun and unethical, is now mostly just writing down what important people tell him in his kitchen—certainly won't uncover it. "There is nothing less important about 'the sequester' than the question of whose idea it originally was," Salon's Alex Pareene wrote yesterday. "So, naturally, that is the question that much of the political press is obsessed with, to the exclusion of almost everything else." Not everything else: also the question of the proper tone in which one is allowed to speak to Bob Woodward. You'll be able to catch him declaiming on the topic tonight on the Sean Hannity program on Fox News. [Politico | CNN | BuzzFeeᴅ | Salon]
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's investigation into the origins of the Watergate break-in—which took place 40 years ago yesterday—is one of the most highly mythologized episodes in the history of journalism. It represents the Platonic ideal of what journalism-with-a-capital-J ought to be, at least according to its high priesthood—sober, careful young men doggedly following the story wherever it leads and holding power to account, without fear or favor. It was also a sloppy, ethically dubious project the details of which would mortify any of the smug high priests of journalism that flourished in its wake. The actual Watergate investigation could never have survived the legacy it helped create.
Fashion Week queen bee Fern Mallis turns 61 today. The legendary Diana Ross turns 65. Nancy Pelosi is 69. Keira Knightley is celebrating her 24th. Steven Tyler is 61. Curtis Sliwa turns 55. Michael Imperioli is 43. Journalist Bob Woodward turns 66. Author Erica Jong is 67. Martin Short is 59. James Caan is turning 69. Amy Smart is 33. Jennifer Grey is 49. Leeza Gibbons turns 52. Kenny Chesney is turning 41. NBC's Chris Hansen turns 50. Hedge fund manager William von Mueffling is 41. And Elaine Chao, the former Labor Secretary and current sister-in-law of Bruce Wasserstein, is 56 today.
Trend alert: Did you know it's very "hot" to be black or lesbian right now? We know it's true because CNN coolhunter Larry King, 112, said so. Everyone laughed nervously.
Former Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee gave a speech today and got a lot of laughs when he said this about Sarah Palin: "People were coming into my office, phone calls were flooding in, e-mails were coming in, 'I just sent money to Obama, I couldn't sleep last night' - from the left. To see this cocky wacko up there." Now, Chafee was never that convincing a Republican, but here's the thing: neither, for the vast majority of his career anyway, was John McCain. And if Palin energizes the Republican base, she's sure as hell alienating a huge portion of the John McCain base. Let's call them "Angry White Men With Working Brain Cells."* My brother is one; he used to have a mild hardon for McCain; this morning I got an email from him about some Palin nightmare he had last night followed an hour later by an email from the Obama campaign informing me he'd donated a hundred bucks. He is part of the niche that gets riled up not over the idea bombing Iran, or even dumfuckedly joking about bombing Iran, but becomes suddenly borderline rabid over stories like this (as told to Bob Woodward.)
It's been more than three years since the identity of Bob Woodward's famed Deep Throat source was broken in Vanity Fair rather than in Woodward's Washington Post, as he had planned. So perhaps the newspaper is not all that bitter that Woodward, a longtime editor there, has yet let another book project emerge first in a competing news outlet. Last night it was Fox News Channel, not the Post, with exclusive first details of Woodward's fourth book on President Bush, The War Within. Among them was the revelation that John McCain, while standing in the West Wing, clenched his fists and said of the Bush team, "everything is f—-ing spin." Now that's a revelation that's well-timed for the McCain campaign. Wonder who leaked to Fox?! (*McCough.*) Anyway, the Post apparently had its own Web story ready on a hairtrigger, and published it, bringing forth slightly terrifying revelations like how a cadre of generals organized to do something about the inept civilian Commander in Chief: