There I said it. I took that headline from Ollie North. The bastard that armed our enemies in order to get Americans back from our Iranian enemies. Somehow, those Americans Ollie North worked so hard to get back have no parralell's to the Americans now dying in Iraq. I digress.
Luckily for us, someone leaked this neato discussion board that WaPo was having on the inside. From FishBowlDC we get to see what at least two reporters think about sources:
"Jeff Leen: Before we draw and quarter Woodward for making a mistake that he has apologized for, let's take a moment to remember what the man has meant to this institution. Bob would be the first to tell you that he is not bigger than this institution, and I do not think it is fair to claim that he operates off the reservation or by his own set of journalistic rules that do not comport with ours. This is no time to trot out the Judy Miller comparisons. I worked with him on the stories he wrote that won this paper the Pulitzer for national reporting after 9/11. I, for one, would not question his methods. Bob does the hard work and the digging and when he makes a promise to a source, he keeps it, as all of us should. He didn't produce a line of coverage that was flat-out wrong. He didn't mislead his editors, he simply didn't tell them something he should have. That is serious, I grant you. But understandable under the circumstances. He chose not to participate in a story that would have had the end result of unmasking his sources. Now, maybe you make your living with anonymous sources or maybe you don't, but if you do, you know one thing, and that is that you do not reveal your sources when the heat is on or under any other circumstance--when it is politically expedient or when it is economically expedient or when it is journalistically expedient or when it is legally expedient. If your source is the devil, you keep his confidence. Anonymous sources have to be used carefully. They have to be checked and triangulated and buttressed with documents and other sources. Bob Woodward is the most careful person I know in the use of unnamed sources. Over his more than 30-year career there is no Wen Ho Lee or WMD or anything else like that. The man made a mistake. But he has given this institution far more than he has taken from it.
Peter Baker: Re: Jeff Leen's comment, hear hear. Everyone makes mistakes and pays the price. But Bob has been an exceptionally generous colleague and model of integrity for longer than any of us posting today have been at the paper. He's partly responsible for the fact that we have such a special place to practice our craft in the first place. Let the nattering nabobs on the outside have their pound of flesh. But Bob has more than earned our understanding, forgiveness, support and loyalty."
First of all, Bob Woodward is a man, if you cut him he bleeds, he eats sleeps and shits. I don't give a shit who he helped take down, even still attytood makes the Deep Throat climax of Woodward's life look less lusterous.
Trotting out Judy Miller comparisons? Well let's see. Judy knew things her editors didn't. SO did Woodward. If you got one thing that is congruent, I think a comparison is fair game. Just like all democrats are liberal wahckjob Michael Moore lovers. Woodward can be labeled Mr. Run Amok.
Mr. Woodward chose not to participate in a story? No, he chose not to participate in an investigation! He was too chickenshit to get suppoenaed thinking his ass would wind up in jail or worse. He was a smart guy though. He could have at any time (perhaps during one of his televised pundit pageants) that his ass would not wind up in jail and that his source whom had potentially broken a law could have. Even then his source would just be part of the investigation, and as such, he would have just been able to tell his story. In short, wether or not the crime was committed was up to Fitzgerald to figure out, and Woodward should have been smart enough to know that.
Maybe I am smarter than Woody?!
Finally Mr. Jeff Leen and Mr. Peter Baker (who agrees wholeheartedly apparently), satan would be kept safe? Really?
WOW! What if Satan gave you a scoop under double super secret background that he was going to kill the President of the United States?
Would you then be sworn to secrecy until you met up with Satan in hell one day? I doubt it. I think you would print that story and then you would realize that it is a crime to conspire to kill the President (or perhaps you would realize the crime ahead of time if you had written books such as those penned by Woody).
What then? Would your allegiance stil be with the devil? Or would it rest at the feet of the American people or the readers of the rag you write for? You know the folks who increase or decrease the circulation, thus ad revenue, thus PAY YOUR SALARY!