The elec­tion that out­raged lib­er­als and made ‘Fear’ both fash­ion­able and prof­itable

Anony­mous sources are will­ing to tell Bob Wood­ward any­thing to harm the pres­i­dent be­cause they’re still mad

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Tammy Bruce

Poor Bob Wood­ward. Poor us. His new book on the Trump White House, “Fear,” was re­leased this week, and its au­thor has been mak­ing the rounds. But we’ve seen this movie be­fore: In­ter­na­tion­ally known au­thor writes book about Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump which will make all lib­eral dreams come true. The “ex­pose” of Mr. Trump as Lord of the Flies, rul­ing over a dystopian, dys­func­tional White House.

Or not. Yet, Mr. Wood­ward, one of the more sto­ried jour­nal­ists in our his­tory, has de­cided the Michael Wolff school of book-sell­ing is the new ticket. “Fear” will likely land at No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list, and there will be a ca­ble mini-se­ries deal, all en­rich­ing Mr. Wood­ward. But when it comes to im­part­ing the truth to the Amer­i­can pub­lic? Not so much.

You’ll re­call Mr. Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” re­leased in Jan­uary 2018, was go­ing to be the tome that took down the pres­i­dent. In­stead, the au­thor ad­mit­ted he wasn’t sure what was true and what wasn’t in his own book, re­vealed he knew peo­ple had lied to him, but “wanted the reader to judge” the ac­cu­racy for them­selves.

In other words, he had writ­ten some­thing so un­re­li­able it is now con­sid­ered sat­is­fy­ing and lips­mack­ing Trump-hater fan fic­tion.

Nine months af­ter the Wolff book im­ploded, lib­er­als and the Trump-hat­ing es­tab­lish­ment are cel­e­brat­ing the ar­rival of an­other baby, this one named “Fear,” hop­ing it will de­liver the fa­tal blow against their neme­sis. They will be dis­ap­pointed.

Now ped­dling his book about Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, we could have hoped we would get an hon­est de­pic­tion of the White House. Any fair por­trayal would re­flect both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive as­pects, but when you have some­thing meant to shape opin­ion de­lib­er­ately in a par­tic­u­lar di­rec­tion, sus­pi­cion is the pub­lic’s ally.

The Wood­ward book, like Mr. Wolff’s, re­lies on un­named sources who make ex­traor­di­nary claims about state­ments and at­ti­tudes con­cern­ing the pres­i­dent’s clos­est ad­vis­ers. Chief of Staff John Kelly and Sec­re­tary of De­fense James Mat­tis have both de­nied, vo­cif­er­ously, claims made in “Fear” about com­ments they sup­pos­edly made about the pres­i­dent. And it is Mr. Wood­ward’s re­sponse in an in­ter­view that casts the Wolff shadow upon him.

In an in­ter­view with Sa­van­nah Guthrie on the “To­day Show,” Ms. Guthrie broached the is­sue of Messrs. Mat­tis and Kelly, both for­mer Ma­rine Corps gen­er­als, deny­ing what com­ments about Mr. Trump at­trib­uted to them in the book, and why peo­ple should trust him de­spite his use of anony­mous sources. His an­swer was ex­traor­di­nary:

Sa­van­nah Guthrie: … It is mostly anony­mous sources in here. Why should peo­ple trust you?

Bob Wood­ward: Uh be­cause, um but the in­ci­dents are not, not anony­mous. Uh, you, it gives a date, it gives a time, who par­tic­i­pates. Most of­ten the pres­i­dent him­self and what he says …

Think about this: Mr. Wood­ward, be­ing ques­tioned about the ve­rac­ity of quotes at­trib­uted to spe­cific peo­ple, ex­plains they are true be­cause the events within which they were sup­pos­edly ut­tered aren’t anony­mous.

In Mr. Wood­ward’s world, the White House ex­ists and meet­ings hap­pen, so what­ever we’re told about what’s said in those meet­ings, must be true. Yeah, it doesn’t work that way. But he doesn’t stop there.

SG: … You have John Kelly, the White House Chief of Staff, um, call­ing the pres­i­dent an id­iot, say­ing we’re in Crazy­town. That’s a quote. John Kelly now says that never hap­pened, I didn’t say it. Jim Mat­tis, an­other per­son quoted as say­ing the pres­i­dent’s un­der­stand­ing is like a 5th or 6th grader. He comes out sub­se­quently and says I didn’t say it. Are they lying? BW: Uh, they are not telling the truth. SG: (crosstalk) That’s lying? BW: No, but look, what’s go­ing on here and uh, my old boss at The Wash­ing­ton Post, Ben Bradlee, the great ed­i­tor, used to say the truth emerges. Some­times it takes time. These peo­ple, these are po­lit­i­cal state­ments to pro­tect their jobs.

Ul­ti­mately, Ms. Guthrie tries to ask whether or not these men said these things di­rectly to Mr. Wood­ward. Were they his sources? He ob­fus­cates be­cause they weren’t his sources, of course.

Nei­ther for­mer Ma­rine Corps gen­eral would say those things about their com­man­der in chief to any­one, let alone Bob Wood­ward. But some­one else, in­tend­ing to cause chaos and dis­trust, would. Anony­mous sources are will­ing to tell Mr. Wood­ward (and oth­ers) any­thing to achieve a goal meant to harm the pres­i­dent and this coun­try be­cause they’re mad their team was de­feated in 2016.

Mr. Wood­ward in­sists other re­porters “heard” the same quotes about Messrs. Mat­tis and Kelly. That’s in­ter­est­ing, al­most like some­one was try­ing to get a nar­ra­tive go­ing. And here is Bob “Water­gate” Wood­ward de­fend­ing his work by ad­mit­ting it was es­sen­tially gos­sip amongst the press corp.

Like with ev­ery other false fever dream pushed by the es­tab­lish­ment, this, too, will be ex­posed as false. The fake Rus­sia dossier, the smear of An­thony Scara­mucci on CNN, the Michael Wolff book, the fake Trump Tower Rus­sia meet­ing story ped­dled by Lanny Davis to CNN — just a few ex­am­ples of the slurs meant to in­flict en­dur­ing dam­age on the pres­i­dent, and all de­bunked.

Nota bene to Mr. Wood­ward: Ben Bradlee was right, the truth does emerge, and it has never been good news for those tar­get­ing Don­ald Trump. Tammy Bruce, pres­i­dent of In­de­pen­dent Women’s Voice, au­thor and Fox News con­trib­u­tor, is a ra­dio talk show host.


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