Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tom Roeser: Bob Woodward is a Journalistic Fraud from the Get-Go, Who Fabricated Bill Casey, Deep Throat Interviews

By Nicholas Stix
Expanded version, 9:52 a.m., Tuesday, October 19, 2010.

Brand-name Republican (Fred Barnes) and Democratic (Bob Schieffer) journalists alike have called the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward the best reporter of his age, and perhaps of all time.

Against those men’s judgments, Tom Roeser makes a compelling case that Woodward is a fake, who deserves a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

You’ll remember that [CIA Director Bill] Casey was in the hospital having suffered a stroke which left him speechless—irremediably. Federal agents were guarding the hospital room but Woodward told readers of his book [Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987] that he managed to sneak in anyhow and interview the stricken speechless Casey! In a word or two Casey confirmed everything that Woodward assumed about the CIA…namely that since the State Department could not and the Defense Department would not lead the fight for democracy and world capitalism, he himself led the CIA to lead anti-Communist rebels in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia and Nicaragua, sponsored a joint effort with Egypt to overthrow Qaddafi and strategized an unsuccessful assassination attempt against Muslim leader Sheild Fadallah which led to the death of eighty innocent Lebanese.

Woodward sold the book and made millions on it by insisting that he had interviewed Casey a number of times. Why the old Cold Warrior would spill his guts to the very liberal Woodward? Just happened, that’s all. And the last interview in Casey’s guarded hospital room with him unable to talk and CIA guards outside? Just happened. But there can be no corroboration of his claim since Casey died shortly after the “interview.”

A similar case with Woodward’s first multi-million-dollar venture about Watergate, All the President’s Men. Woodward claimed he received a boatload of secret information from someone he called “Deep Throat.” The guy was pictured as a very-very high up figure in the Nixon administration, leading people for 30 years to speculate: Was it John Ehrlichman? John Dean? Bob Haldeman? Leonard Garment? John Sears? Alexander Butterfield? . All except Sears had an almost daily access to Nixon—and Sears, whom I knew well….very well….had first-hand confidential relationships with most of the above.

Spinning a story worthy of Hollywood….in fact it
was filmed by Hollywood starring Robert Redford as Woodward….Deep Throat had a condo visible from the street and whenever he wanted to unload his secrets, he would move a flower pot from the left-hand side to the right on his balcony where Woodward and Bernstein could see it and meet the Source in an underground garage at midnight. Finally 30 years after he made a killing on his books, Woodward identified Deep Throat.

What a disappointment! He was nowhere near the Oval Office but an associate director of the FBI, a guy by the name of W. Mark Felt. No one who worked in the Nixon administration….as did I…believed that this obscure but relatively high level official had the intimate contacts to equal Deep Throat. But here again, after he unveiled Felt’s identity, Woodward was protected just as he had by claiming CIA secrets were transmitted to him by the hopelessly, irremediably ill Casey who lost the power of speech.

By the time the Deep Throat “disclosure” was made, Felt was 93… Earlier and for two decades, Felt had denied he was Deep Throat. Now he agreed he had been but in subsequent interviews, his memory was too feeble to corroborate much of what Woodward had written. He was hazy and unclear about everything except one fact. His condo in Washington was not facing the street so the story that Woodward judged when it was time for an interview by watching placement of the flower pot on the balcony was a hoax. There was no balcony, no flower pot.

Both cases forces one to ask himself how in God’s name could liberals be so incredulously gullible as to accept (a) an interview with a perpetually silenced stroke victim and (b) a lesser-known official with no close tie to Nixon but who had some animosity to him since Felt had been passed over for promotion to FBI Director after J. Edgar Hoover died.
The logical answer: Woodward invented his facts and the liberal media, pleased that his fiction seemed to verify their consensus, accepted them fully.

After all, didn’t they accept the Obama romance without checking?...

[“Personal Asides: Bob Woodward, & Fredrenna Lyle In the News—A Pulitzer for Fiction, the Captain Louis Renault Award for Acting Shocked and a Julian for Taking Umbrage at a Word That Rhymes with an Epithet,” by Tom Roeser, October 11, 2010.]

Does that make Woodward the ultimate dirty trickster? Does it mean that the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service that the Washington Post won for Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s reporting, which brought down a president, and became the book and Oscar-winning movie All The President’s Men, was fraudulently awarded?

And does that mean that Janet Cooke was just doing it the company way, when she won a Pulitzer for her series “Jimmy’s World,” about a non-existent, eight-year-old, Washington, D.C. heroin addict, and that Ben Bradlee owes her an apology?

As for Bradlee, his legend was also based on All The President’s Men; Jason Robards won his first Best Supporting Actor Oscar playing him in the movie version. Bradlee would be the former CIA operative and Kennedy-sycophant who wants us to believe both that he knew everything that was going on in Washington, but had no idea that the President was sleeping with every attractive woman in town, with the exception of Mrs. Kennedy. If Woodward goes down, Bradlee goes down with him.

Since All the President’s Men was a partisan vendetta, that would be poetic justice.

You’re bound to ask, “Who is this Tom Roeser character; I never heard of him?”

He’s a brilliant Illinoisan who went back and forth in careers in journalism, PR, advertising, high federal officialdom, lobbying, academia and … I don’t have room for more, I’m already out of breath. (In other words, much of the time, he inhabited the establishment world I seek to expose.) He has written a 20th century political history for his grandchildren that he has published online (but which I cannot find at his new blog; this section is the closest thing to it), the book Father Mac: The Life and Times of Ignatius D. McDermott, Co-Founder of Chicago's Famed Haymarket Center, a biography that you can purchase here, writes his observations on contemporary politics, has a radio show, and has forgotten more about American politics than I’ll ever learn. He’s a Catholic of the non-cafeteria variety. He’s a Republican, but I can’t quite reduce his politics to a slogan. And he’s one of the people whose work redeems the Internet of its many sins.

Apparently, he doesn’t require much sleep, either.

I had a link to his blog up for years, but now see that it was lost about two years ago, along with so many others, when I accepted Google’s offer to “upgrade” this blog. I have just put in a link to his new blog.

A tip ‘o the hat to my Oak Park writer friend Jim Bowman, the former Jesuit who was the religion reporter for the last ten years of the legendary Chicago Daily News,’ existence, the author of Priests at Work: Catholic Pastors Tell How They Apply Church Law in Difficult Cases, among other books, who is the proprietor of the blog, Blithe Spirit, and who introduced me to Roeser’s writing, several years ago.

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