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Woodward's Books, Why Participate?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by YankeeFan, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Treading lightly here as I know we're not to discuss politics.

    So, my question is, why do administrations continue to give him extraordinary access & encourage folks to talk to him?

    I suppose the easy answer is that they are so confident in themselves that they'll be portrayed in a good light, and that if he's going to do the book anyway, you might as well participate so that you get your side of the story across.

    But, people should know by now that it's never pretty to watch the sausage get made. There's always going to be arguments, conflict, aides speaking ill of colleagues.

    My recollection is that the Bush folks were pretty happy with the first book he did on their administration, but not nearly as thrilled with the second two.

    Here are the Times' & Post's articles on the book:



    I can't imagine they are happy about these articles or their decision to participate.
  2. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

  3. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    The reason people participate in Woodward's books is simple. The officials who do not participate end up as the goats in the story, if only because they have no malicious gossip about other people to counter malicious gossip about themselves. It's easy to see who the Valachis are in his books. They're the ones who are judicious and wise in the story.
  4. finishthehat

    finishthehat Active Member

    Yes, it's always very obvious who has cooperated and who hasn't. Just read the descriptions of the steely Donald Rumsfeld in the first two books, and Colin Powell always comes across favorably.
  5. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    I don't think that sources looking good is an issue that's limited to Woodward.

    When I worked for Giuliani, they were always "trying to find out who was leaking". And, invariably, the folks "looking for the leaker" were the ones who were doing the leaking.

    The Deputy Mayor, The Chief of Staff, the Director of Communications were all huge leakers. They wanted to portray themselves and their priorities in a good light & throw their rivals under the bus all in one action.

    Obviously, that's a huge reason for a reporter to be careful with anonymous sources. There's always an agenda.

    I remember that Jerry Hauer, Rudy's first Director of the Office of Emergency Management would always have glowing profiles written about him or be treated as a foremost expert in articles. He was also one of the biggest leakers.

    But the Woodward books are different. He's given access. Aides are encouraged to talk to him.

    I think they're crazy to work with him.

    Sure, some people will come out looking good, but the overall infighting & personality conflicts are always going to make the administration as a whole look bad.
  6. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I also think that Woodward tends to view things with an eye toward history. He doesn't get into the the shitstorm of the day, but figures his books are meant to be read 10, 20, 30 years down the line to answer the question "what was the process like."
    I'm pretty sure that is the deal he works out to get access.

    But I also figure there is stuff he has squirreled away somewhere that never made it into print because it didn't fit into the narrative/issue of whatever book he was working on.
  7. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    I could see giving a reporter access like this if the book is going to be released after the Presidency -- like the post campaign books.

    But this book is coming out right before a mid-term election. And before he has to run for re-election.

    I wonder who in the administration brought the idea/proposal to Obama. Whoever it is, I'll bet Obama's pissed at him for agreeing to do it.
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I think they feel like they don't have a choice and that several politicians are so egotistical that they're convinced that Woodward won't trash them.
  9. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Politico on how the Times scooped the Post on Woodward's book:

  10. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    The way the news cycle works, publishers and assorted media entities would be wise to do the press rollout the week before a book hits the shelves. Monday is five days away - this story will be dead by then.
  11. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    Because the WH apparently think Obama comes out pretty good in it. Bush looked good in Woodward's first two books on that admin. He obviously had enough stuff to write it whether BO participated or not, so why not try to tell your side? Woodward will get play on the news because of his rep, so there's no sense in hoping it just gets forgotten about.
  12. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    PR 101 - You want to kill a story or at least throw water on a book about you being published? Say that you love it.
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