Accuracy in Media

Veteran investigative journalist and author Bob Woodward recently spoke to students at American University in Washington, D.C. and told students to “focus, rewrite, re-interview … and always try to suck out the truth,” and the best way to do that is to “simply ask why and shut up and let someone answer.”

That would be great if Woodward would only follow his own advice. Isn’t this the same man who after all claimed in his 1987 book Veil that he spoke with CIA Director William Casey just after he had brain surgery and was in a heavily guarded hospital room? Or what about the recent CIA leak case where Woodward “forgot” to tell his editor that he knowledge of the case and knew about the CIA employee implicated in the affair.

So there is Woodward painting the picture that he is an honest fact checking truth seeking journalist when he himself has a history of twisting and in some cases making up stories to suit his needs.

Of course since this all took place at AU, I didn’t expect any tough questions and based on the story in the campus paper The Eagle there were none or Woodward didn’t answer them.

The best quote from the paper came from first year student at the Washington College of Law Daniel Ortiz who said Woodward “definitely went around questions that dealt with journalistic professionalism,” and “he clearly came in with his own agenda of what he wanted to talk about.”

When it comes to Woodward the use of the word veil really should be applied to the veil of secrecy and obfuscation that surrounds his reporting and writing methodology.

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