Carl Bernstein calls Bob Woodward's Trump book 'indisputable'

A version of this article first appeared in the Reliable Sources newsletter. ...

Posted: Sep 5, 2018 11:07 AM
Updated: Sep 5, 2018 11:07 AM

A version of this article first appeared in the Reliable Sources newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

"CRAZYTOWN"

The noise machine is really cranking up to challenge Bob Woodward's book "Fear." But the book is about something fundamental, something that's hard for the pro-Trump media to fully counter. It's about whether Trump is fit for office. The book is full of reasons to doubt his fitness. And it details a White House that isn't just dysfunctional, but is downright broken. Here's the very latest...

-- "Fear" was #12 on Amazon BEFORE WaPo and CNN published excerpts around 11:15am Tuesday. By 5pm, the book was firmly #1, and it's not going to budge for days...

-- The publication date is still 9/11... Simon & Schuster is enjoying the pre-order spike...

-- So far there's been no known threat of legal action from Trumpworld, but I'm on the lookout because that's what happened with "Fire and Fury" and "Unhinged..."

-- All three books "tell basically the same story, it's just that Woodward has by far the most credibility of those three," Chris Hayes said on MSNBC. "It's basically an 'even worse than you thought' sort of theme..."

-- For the time being, Trump is trying a "fake news" defense, claiming (without a shred of evidence) that Woodward might have made up the stories in the book...

-- Will "he made it up!" really work against one of the most-respected, well-known reporters in the country? Maybe...

-- WaPo's Josh Dawsey tweeted: "Of 13 current and former White House officials I spoke to today, seven said they spoke to Bob Woodward for his book..."

"Furious" and "paranoid"

>> WaPo's Wednesday story says Trump is "furious" and "particularly paranoid" right now. And as CNN's Kaitlan Collins reported earlier, he's irritated that his aides turned down Woodward's requests to interview him.

If you haven't listened to Woodward's recording of his 8/14 phone call with Trump, listen to/read it here. And think about this: Trump evidently thought he could single-handedly turn "Fear" into a positive, "accurate" book by talking to Woodward.

From the call, a Trump quote for the ages: "Accurate is that nobody's ever done a better job than I'm doing as President. That I can tell you. So that's -- And that's the way a lot of people feel that know what's going on, and you'll see that over the years. But a lot of people feel that, Bob."

Bernstein calls the book "indisputable"

There was something special about listening to Carl Bernstein analyze Woodward's bombshells on CNN on Tuesday.

Bernstein's main point to Anderson Cooper: "Yes, there's been reporting on this, a good deal of it. But now we have a coherent, indisputable narrative that is absolutely chilling in the following way: The people closest to the president of the United States, in his W.H. and in his administration, are saying that they see their job as protecting the United States FROM the president of the United States. That he is a danger to the republic. That is the text of this book. Every meeting that Bob writes about, that is the subtext. And it's not just a sentence here or somebody calling somebody an idiot there, it is detail piled upon detail..."

>> Bernstein also vouched for Woodward's reporting talent as only Bernstein could do. "This is an irrefutable picture, because of Bob Woodward's methodology," he told Brooke Baldwin earlier in the day...

"Dozens of deep throats"

Robert Costa and Philip Rucker published the first excerpts in a WaPo story. CNN's Jeremy Herb, Jamie Gangel and Dan Merica followed with another eye-popping story just a few minutes later. Together, the two story formed the basis for a full day of news coverage, criticism, denials, etc.

Gangel made this point on "AC360:" Woodward had "dozens of sources," dozens of so-called deep throats. "He has hundreds of hours of taped interviews, almost every interview was taped... So people may be denying things now for their own reason. Maybe they're denying it because they do consider themselves 'the thin blue line,' and they feel that it's more important that they be in the job. But there are tapes."

Keep this in mind

From an emailer: "It's pretty shocking to me how many journalists are willing to draw firm conclusions about the book based on today's news coverage without actually reading the book..."

Top reactions to the excerpts

-- WaPo veteran Robert G. Kaiser: "Just a reminder: Woodward does not make mistakes. He doesn't invent stuff. In our 40 years together at the Post, I remember just one correction of a Woodward story -- Watergate aficionados know the story, an insignificant slip-up."

-- Sean Hannity: "A book filled with speculation, rumors, hearsay."

-- Ezra Klein tweeted that "there should be a word for the pain of being repeatedly confronted with what you already know is true. That's the experience of reporting on Trump, and reading these Trump books. What's going on in the White House is exactly what it looks like, and that's scary every single time."

-- Panelist Morgan Ortagus on Fox's "Special Report:" "At the Applebee's in Winter Haven, Florida, where I waitressed in high school and college, no one is talking about the Bob Woodward book tonight. No one."

-- Brit Hume on Twitter: "The denials from Kelly, Dowd, Mattis are pretty explicit and direct. Bob Woodward's sources are, as always, anonymous so we may never know who's right."

Been there, done that...

→ Ari Fleischer: "I've been on the receiving end of a Bob Woodward book. There were quotes in it I didn't like. But never once -- never -- did I think Woodward made it up. Anonymous sources have looser lips and may take liberties. But Woodward always plays is straight. Someone told it to him."

→ Paul Begala: "24 years ago, Woodward quoted me in his Clinton book saying all kinds of profane and rude things. Why? Maybe because he's a Republican. Or maybe because: I. Said. Them."

Woodward's only comment

He shared a five-word statement with reporters who asked him about the admin denials and other reactions to the book's revelations.

"I stand by my reporting."

Woodward has already taped his first TV interview about the book -- with David Martin for "CBS Sunday Morning" -- and right now Sunday seems like a long ways away. But authors like Woodward and the book publicists at S&S have been through this before...

>> On Tuesday's "CBS Evening News," Martin mentioned the interview. "I can tell you, from having interviewed Woodward, he is VERY confident of his information, much of which comes from diaries and notes..."

Lowry's take

Brian Lowry emails: Chuck Todd's Atlantic piece about the damage done to journalism over the last 50 years -- and the orchestrated campaign to achieve those ends -- was a must-read. But the one thing he didn't resolve, in my mind, was how journalists can defend themselves and their work without sounding, well, defensive. It was striking, too, in light of Todd's argument to see Woodward's one-line statement -- "I stand by my reporting" -- in response to the denials and criticism directed at his book. It was an almost-perfect demonstration of the old-school mentality, as opposed to the greater transparency -- and more full-throated defense -- that many, including Todd, are advocating...

It's about fitness.

Based on the WaPo and CNN excerpts alone, it's safe to say that "Fear" contains a wealth of new evidence that is making Trump's fitness a subject of discussion again. Furthermore, the book indicates that it already is being discussed by some of the highest-ranking officials in his administration.

Book after book, story after story, news cycle after news cycle all come back to the same uncomfortable question: Is he fit for office? You can expect to hear the Q asked a lot more in the coming weeks. Here's my column about it...

The White House's response was delayed...

The W.H. knew this book was in the works for months. It knew the pub date for weeks, just like the rest of us. Still, it took the press shop four full hours to release a statement dismissing the book as "nothing more than fabricated stories."

>> Maggie Haberman's reaction: "Took the WH four hours to come with the same statement it's used for the last two books."

Trump + The Daily Caller

Maybe the press shop was busy setting up this Oval Office interview with two reporters from The Daily Caller. In the interview, Trump claimed that Woodward might have made the stories up, contradicting his own previous praise of the author's reputation.

"It's just another bad book," Trump said. And he was right in one respect: "Fear" is not the first book to contain damning claims about the Trump W.H.

Read more of Tuesday's Reliable Sources newsletter... And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox...

Chris Ruddy brought this up on Chris Cuomo's show: "This book is not so much 'fake news' as it's OLD news," Ruddy said. "I mean, it's a redo of Michael Wolff's book. Very similar themes." But Cuomo pointed out that the commonalities between "Fire and Fury," "Unhinged" and "Fear" actually buttress the points of all three books...

Huntsville
Few Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 76°
Florence
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 81°
Fayetteville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 79°
Scottsboro
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 73°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14986

Reported Deaths: 566
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2033111
Jefferson163091
Montgomery127433
Marshall6509
Tuscaloosa55812
Lee51032
Franklin4676
Shelby44719
Tallapoosa40063
Butler35912
Chambers33724
Madison3024
Baldwin2749
Elmore2707
Walker2391
Etowah23811
DeKalb2263
Dallas2063
Coffee2061
Lowndes19310
Sumter1936
Morgan1761
Houston1724
Autauga1683
Calhoun1463
Pike1450
Choctaw1444
Colbert1422
Marengo1416
Russell1370
Lauderdale1352
Bullock1333
Hale1324
Randolph1247
Wilcox1187
Marion11410
Barbour1131
Clarke1092
St. Clair1041
Pickens934
Greene914
Talladega912
Chilton871
Dale850
Cullman780
Limestone770
Jackson712
Winston670
Covington671
Washington655
Henry642
Macon622
Crenshaw602
Bibb591
Blount491
Lawrence430
Escambia433
Perry350
Geneva350
Coosa341
Monroe332
Cherokee332
Conecuh281
Clay272
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 20535

Reported Deaths: 338
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson463258
Shelby445194
Trousdale13924
Rutherford102922
Sumner82745
Bledsoe6081
Hamilton60114
Williamson52210
Tipton4273
Lake4100
Robertson3891
Putnam3805
Wilson3638
Out of TN3394
Knox3365
Bedford2694
Montgomery2483
Rhea1970
Hardeman1880
Madison1732
Loudon1360
McMinn13514
Cheatham1100
Cumberland1091
Fayette1072
Dickson1040
Macon1013
Bradley981
Blount823
Maury790
Unassigned750
Washington730
Sevier722
Coffee660
Wayne630
Sullivan612
Gibson601
Monroe562
Lauderdale561
Hickman530
Dyer480
Greene472
Franklin461
Anderson391
Marion361
DeKalb340
Grundy321
Hawkins312
Smith301
Marshall291
Haywood292
Henry290
Carroll271
Jefferson270
White270
Weakley260
Hamblen262
Meigs250
Lincoln250
Lawrence240
Obion241
Warren210
Overton210
Cocke200
Carter191
Morgan170
Cannon170
Campbell171
Jackson170
Crockett161
Roane150
Johnson150
Polk140
Henderson130
Perry130
Humphreys131
McNairy120
Giles120
Chester120
Sequatchie110
Scott110
Hardin112
Fentress110
Stewart90
Claiborne80
Houston70
Benton71
Clay60
Grainger60
Decatur50
Van Buren40
Union40
Moore30
Unicoi30
Pickett30
Lewis30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events