Bob Woodward needs no one to provide foundation for his past journalistic efforts, but nonetheless it was nice to see Ben Bradlee making a strong statement this morning.
This whole episode started after yesterdays New York Times Magazine story. The crux of the matter is that Bob Woodward is coming out strongly against a new report that reveals Benjamin Bradlee, the Washington Post editor who oversaw his Watergate stories, once said he had “fear in [his] soul” that Woodward embellished details about his reporting of the scandal.
Then from Politico today comes this statement.
Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn made strong statements of support for Bob Woodward and his Watergate reporting on Monday, moving to defuse damaging questions raised by a new biography that includes musing by Bradlee about whether some details had been embellished. “No editor, no reader, can hope for more than Bob Woodward’s byline on a story that really matters,” Bradlee said in the two-sentence statement, read to POLITICO by his wife, the journalist Sally Quinn. “I always trusted him, and I always will.” Quinn told POLITICO: “There was nothing specific that Ben had doubts about. … The story stands up. No one is questioning Bob’s veracity. … Nixon resigned.”
Last night Woodward had an interview with Politico, and this was the result.
In an interview with POLITICO Sunday night, Woodward asserted that Himmelman failed to include in the New York magazine article a much more recent interview he did with Bradlee that was more supportive of Woodward.
“There’s a transcript of an interview that Himmelman did with Bradlee 18 months ago in which Ben undercuts the [New York magazine] piece. It’s amazing that it’s not in Jeff’s piece,” Woodward said. “It’s almost like the way Nixon’s tapings did him in, Jeff’s own interview with Bradlee does him in.”
Woodward said he has a transcript of an interview on Oct. 7, 2010, in which Bradlee told Himmelman that he is fully confident about Woodward’s reporting on Watergate.
”Jeff went back to Ben and said, ‘Hey, what about this?’” Woodward told POLITICO. “Jeff gave me a copy of this interview, but he didn’t put it in the article.”
According to Woodward’s reading of the transcript, Bradlee told Himmelman: “If you would ask me, do I think that [Woodward] embellished, I would say no.”
”He did nothing to play down the drama of all of this,” Bradlee continues, according to Woodward. “You know I’m sure they had a signal, but if it was roses or something else I don’t know. But they had the means of communicating with each other. But because I never knew Felt, I never knew if there was anything from Bob that didn’t ring true. And I don’t think there was.”
“It undercuts the whole premise” of the New York magazine article, Woodward insisted to POLITICO. “The whole premise is based on what Ben said 22 years ago, Ben in 1990 saying he had some doubt. Then 15 years later, Mark Felt comes out, he does a book, I do a book, everyone re-excavates, and everything rings true.”