Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Woodward's All Benned Out Of Shape

Watergate reporter Bob Woodward is spending the runup to the break-in's 40th anniversary caught in a pincer movement between Max Holland (who in Leak completed the deromanticization of Woodward's most famous source, Mark Felt) and former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee (who in 1990 confessed to misgivings about Woodward's description of his source). Holland writes:

Lest you, dear reader, think this is a manufactured controversy, a kerfuffle over some minor details—did Bob really move a flower pot on his balcony, and if so, how many times?—Woodward realizes what is at stake. Shortly after [Jeff] Himmelman read the [Barbara] Feinman transcript for the first time in April 2010, he interviewed Woodward. His mentor was "visibly shaken" after reading the passage, Himmelman writes, and “all vigor drained from his voice.” Himmelman then went back to Bradlee, who would be lobbied by Woodward to disavow the phrase "residual fear" or prohibit its use by Himmelman. Together, Himmelman and Bradlee tried to parse the reason for Woodward’s “off-the-charts” reaction. To Bradlee, it suggested that the notion of embellishments in All the President's Men "might be true."

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