Woodward Called a Liar Many Times Over the Years [OPINION]
The attack of the week by the mainstream media on President Trump is fueled by the impending release of Bob Woodward's new book Fear: Trump in the White House.
The subject of the book is quite obviously the Trump Administration, and the narrative becomes almost as obvious soon after opening the book: Trump is a nut and incapable of leading the nation as president.
Fear seems to be right in the wheelhouse of the Trump detractor's diet. Woodward cites anonymous sources and claims to have directly quoted several Trump administration officials like Generals Kelly and Mattis, both who deny ever making the statements found in Fear, and both are insisting that the words were never even said in their presence by anyone.
In the Washington Post, Woodward says that his book is drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses that were conducted on “deep background.”
Woodward quotes Chief of Staff General John F. Kelly referring to President Trump, saying, “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”
"The idea I ever called the President an idiot is not true," Kelly said yesterday of the quote, adding that the claim "is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes." Kelly repeated a statement he made in May, saying that he and Trump "have an incredibly candid and strong relationship."
It seems, to me, highly unlikely that a career U.S. Marine would be eager and willing to verbally slam his Commander-in-Chief for an assured best-seller book by Washington's most famous author, even if he harbored the views which he says he doesn't.
For General Mattis, I'd just say the same thing. A life of discipline, obeying orders with the dedication and intensity shown for duty by these two U.S. Marine generals, makes Woodward's quotes tough to swallow without at least a witness or evidence, neither of which he is willing to produce.
Mattis said this in Military.com's interview:
"While I generally enjoy reading fiction, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility," Mattis said in the statement. " ... In serving in this administration, the idea that I would show contempt for the elected Commander-in-Chief, President Trump, or tolerate disrespect to the office of the President from within our Department of Defense, is a product of someone's rich imagination."
Bob Woodward is thought by many to be beyond reproach, and his work is to be taken to the bank by millions. But given testimony by those who knew his subjects the best, should he be given this much trust by the public?
If you go back to the beginning of his book writing, this doesn't exactly come to fruition.
Dan Aykroyd, the former former Saturday Night Live star and close of the late John Belushi, said that Woodward's writing is "trash." Aykroyd and Belushi's widow Judy Jacklin accused Woodward, in his first book Wired, of lying and misrepresenting a lot of things the author put in his book about the life and death of Belushi. Rolling Stone magazine did a whole exposé on the scandal.
“Trash,” proclaimed Dan Aykroyd in the June 7, 1984 Philadelphia Inquirer, while on the road to promote Ghostbusters. “Exploitation, pulp trash…. I think to delve into that sordid, tragic story in the way Woodward did was unforgivable. None of us knew what he was really up to…. Initially, I was against doing a book of any kind. But it was Bob Woodward, you know, and I thought, hey, this might actually turn out to be a class act.”
Actor Jack Nicholson chimed in on Woodward's character as well..
“The man is a ghoul,” claimed Jack Nicholson later in Interview magazine, “and an exploiter of emotionally disturbed widows…. Here’s a guy who has a reputation, right? I’ve obviously seen this kind of work before — it’s the lowest… This guy is actually finished. I believe that.”
Woodward once went on national TV and told Diane Sawyer on CBS Morning News that "a number of people have said to me that there are probably 40 people at the Washington Post who use cocaine regularly." Washington Post Publisher Donald Graham (Woodward's employer) accused him of being a liar. "I don't know what Bob is talking about," he said in response. His colleagues at the Post made pins that read: "I Got Mine From Bob."
Lynn Hirschberg, contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, said, "Woodward didn't understand the pull of drugs and basically tricked Judy Belushi into falling in love with him journalistically and handing over the keys to the kingdom and didn't write the truth..."
Politico wrote of six major Woodward controversies. Adrian Havill, author of Deep Truth: The Lives of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, wrote in the book that Woodward’s famed claim of signaling his “Deep Throat” source for meetings using a flowerpot on his balcony “does strain credulity, since Woodward’s balcony faced an inner courtyard and isn’t visible from a nearby alleyway."
Woodward claimed in his book Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987 that CIA Director William Casey admitted on his deathbed that he had known about the diversion of Iran arms sale money to the Contras.
But Casey’s daughter, Bernadette Casey Smith, claimed that Woodward “never got the deathbed confession,” according to the Houston Chronicle. In addition, Kevin Shipp, a member of Casey’s security detail, asserted in a self-published memoir that none of the agents standing guard over the Casey allowed Woodward into his hospital room at Georgetown University Hospital, and that in any case, the former CIA director was no longer able to talk at the time Woodward cited.
The very same New York Times and Washington Post are ready and willing to take Woodward at his word today, since the target and subject of his new book is Donald J. Trump.
Forgive me if I question some of this based on his word alone.
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @RadioKenPittman. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.