As a teenager, when my schoolmates were dutifully doing their assigned reading of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Red Badge of Courage,” I was reading everything I could get my hands on about Watergate, including everything written by Bob Woodward. Watergate turned me into a fan of the ideal of journalism; reality turned me into the guy who loves writing for Big Journalism.
Everything being the same, had Nixon been a Democrat, there would have been no Watergate because Ben Bradlee, the Washington Post, and Carl Bernstein never would have risked damaging a Democrat president. That’s not to mitigate Nixon’s crimes, but we all know that’s true about the Post. An exception to that hypothetical is Bob Woodward.
The Post never would have allowed Woodward to pursue a Democrat administration involved in Watergate, but I think he would have wanted to. And forty years later, he remains one of the handful of real journalists worthy of admiration. That’s not to say he’s perfect, but he has earned my respect.
For example, in a Post column published yesterday, Woodward blows the lid off Obama’s ongoing lies about sequestration, and by extension, the media’s lies:
On Tuesday, Obama appeared at the White House with a group of police officers and firefighters to denounce the sequester as a “meat-cleaver approach” that would jeopardize military readiness and investments in education, energy and readiness. He also said it would cost jobs. But, the president said, the substitute would have to include new revenue through tax reform. …
Why does this matter?
First, months of White House dissembling further eroded any semblance of trust between Obama and congressional Republicans. (The Republicans are by no means blameless and have had their own episodes of denial and bald-faced message management.)
Second, Lew testified during his confirmation hearing that the Republicans would not go along with new revenue in the portion of the deficit-reduction plan that became the sequester. Reinforcing Lew’s point, a senior White House official said Friday, “The sequester was an option we were forced to take because the Republicans would not do tax increases.”
In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection
So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts.
You expect politicians to lie. But the media knows the truth and is peddling the Obama White House’s lies anyway.
Next week Bob Woodward will report on something that angers Republicans.
That’s why he’s a great reporter.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC