Thursday, June 30, 2005

Washington Post scoop: Nothing new in Bob Woodward's Deep Throat Book

The Washington Post posted a breathless story online tonight-- as it is wont to do whenever Bob Woodward has published a new book-- regarding Bob Woodward's new book on W. Mark Felt, after an intrepid reporter at USA Today purchased a copy at a suburban Washington D.C. bookstore, breaking an embargo surrounding the book. Woodward and his newspaper appeared to be scooped once again on Woodward's own book-- except that, as the Post itself reported, there is very little new information in the book.

In remarkable candor, the newspaper reports: "`The Secret Man' contains no major revelations. Deep Throat's identity was revealed in a Vanity Fair article a month ago, and Woodward has already written the story of how Felt became his famous secret source for the Washington Post."

What is purportedly new in Woodward's book? The Post and Simon & Schuster are touting the fact that in 1976 [blogger's comments: twenty-nine years ago now], then-assistant attorney general Stanley Pottinger learned that Felt was Deep Throat but kept the information secret.

As it turns out, that tale is hardly a new disclosure. It has written about long ago-- something perhaps the Post did not know.

The Post further reports:

Woodward also reveals for the first time the address of the famous Virginia parking garage where most of his meetings with Deep Throat were conducted: 1401 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn. The garage entrance he used is now 1820 Nash Street.
"The Secret Man" includes a chapter written by Woodward's Watergate reporting partner, Carl Bernstein. In it, Bernstein recounts a conversation the two reporters deliberately excluded from their 1974 book, "All the President's Men."

In the fall of 1972, Bernstein writes, as he and Woodward were about to write the first story pointing to former Attorney General John Mitchell's involvement in the scandal, he realized that President Richard M. Nixon was likely to be impeached...

The two then agreed that they should never use the word "impeachment" in the newsroom in the room, because Post editors "might think we had an agenda or that our reporting was overreaching or even that we had gone around bend."

Wow! Perhaps the reporters didn't curse in the newsroom either. For anyone wanting to buy Woodward's new book, USA Today, the Post, and now-- this very blog?!-- have just detailed all the "new" and "dramatic" disclosures for you. But then there weren't really any in the first place.

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