Thursday, October 12, 2006

Stone cold journalist

I just came across this book review on, as a I contemplated spending $17.05 on Bob Woodward's latest book, State of Denial. The review is by Rita Hill, who has some great things to says about the 24-hour news industry:
If you have ever seen Waboutoodward in a televised interview, he writes with the same tone he speaks with. His writing style lends itself to communicating facts and ideas- but not much else. This book is not entertaining, there are no "Ann Coulter" moments. Nowhere is night skiing or steaks on the electric grill mentioned.

What it does do is outline a pattern of events vetted against multiple sources which outline the state of affairs in the White House, Iraq, and sometimes the international community. It does not so much criticise the administration directly, but rather reports events and lets the reader decide.

It is essentially a 500 page newspaper article which is not commentary, not partisan, and absolutely not the writing of a pundit.

Why read it?

Regardless of my opinions of the content of this book, it might be important for someone to point out why one would read a book by Woodward and give it any credence or weight.

Bob Woodward was one of the journalists involved in exposing Richard Nixon's transgressions as president. His partner in this was Carl Bernstein. They wrote for the Washington Post.

Their series of articles in the 1970's led to the indictment of 40 white house officials, and ultimately the resignation of Richard Nixon.

Why would I remind you of this?

There is far too much "opinion" reporting in the press these days because many news outlets report news 24 hours a day. To fill that time, the traditional back page editorial found in a traditional newspaper now is multiplied many times through debate and political speech as "entertainment". Entertainment isn't a good way to be informed.

Woodward will not entertain you.

That being the case- please avail yourself of his reporting. And alternatively, also read some of the other political authorship by the many pundits and commentators out there.

Then make up your own mind.

In a country where Ann Coulter will probably outsell Bob Woodward on a book to book basis, you owe it to yourself to be as informed as possible. That means reading viewpoints you do not agree with, and letting those viewpoints challenge your own.

Woodward is a stone cold journalist.
Not much I can add to that right now.

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