Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

False Balance: Bob Woodward's Obama Bash

Imagine a Watergate rewrite blaming George McGovern for not stopping Nixon’s criminality.

Such false balance emerges as Bob Woodward flogs a new book about last year’s Tea Party-driven debt-ceiling crisis that leads him to indicting Barack Obama’s response.

Woodward describes Republicans, with Eric Cantor undermining his nominal boss John Boehner, as “a brick wall, with a cement wall behind it, with a steel girder behind that.”

The he pivots to a monumental non-sequitur about the President: “But you have to find some way to break through or get around that to solve the big problems.”

Say what? At a time when public perception of Barack Obama is overcoming the caricature Republican zealots have been painting of him for four years, Woodward comes forward with the suggestion that his response to them should have somehow been more tactically agile or slyer or whatever?

With all respect for Woodward’s reportorial skills going back to the days of Deep Throat, an admirer would suggest that his journalism back then benefited from a directness and clarity that let readers make their own judgments about good and evil.

Statesmanlike big think does not suit him nearly as well.

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