“Stories that couldn’t be more different—Bob Woodward’s new book and the Mark Foley sex scandal—are examples of the difference between get-it-in-the-paper-now journalism and how-did-it-really-happen journalism.” Or so wrote Deborah Howell, ombudsman of the Washington Post, last month. “Readers questioned both,” she added. In fact, the two stories were practically the same, since both were non-events that the Post, for whatever reason, was trying to blow up into scandals. What Mr. Woodward’s book, or at least the publicity surrounding it, boiled down to was the less than earth-shaking revelation that presidents receive conflicting advice and intelligence in advance of almost every decision they make and that, therefore, no matter what they do, someone’s advice and intelligence will have been rejected. The rest was hype. Because the decisions President Bush made about going to war...


New to The New Criterion?

Subscribe for one year to receive ten print issues, and gain immediate access to our online archive spanning more than four decades of art and cultural criticism.

Popular Right Now