Bob Woodward’s “Fire” is more like smoke and fractured mirrors by Amanda S. Green
This has been a week. Between personal and professional demands on my time, not to mention the circus that’s been happening in D.C, finding a topic to blog about shouldn’t be difficult. The problem is that anything I chose would see my electronics be put in danger. The accusations against Judge Kavanaugh drive me up a wall. I’m tired of trial by innuendo and conviction by media. I’m sick of watching the DNC sending Beto O’Rourke around the country to build his image for future, nationwide office. The thought of him becoming my Senator scares me shitless. I could continue.
So, when Sarah pinged me this morning to ask where my blog post was, I almost told her there wouldn’t be one. I’d been dealing with a forest fire of the metaphorical kind since I woke. There isn’t enough coffee in the world to get me going this morning, and that includes the Death Wish coffee I’ve been guzzling for the last few hours.
However, I made a promise to her some months ago that I’d do a post a week for her. I’ve let her down a couple of times and she’s been gracious enough to let me change the day I blog on. So, I sat my butt down in my chair and tried to figure out what I could do that wouldn’t send my MacBook Air through the wall.
Mind you, what I decided to do might not accomplish that last. But it should be entertaining. At least I hope it will be for you. I have a feeling I’m going to be looking for booze, much much booze.
To prove I will take one for the team, this morning I downloaded the free sample for Fear: Trump in the White House. No, I won’t give Bob Woodward a dime of my money. Especially after reading the sample.
Okay, buckle up and here we go.
You know you’re in for a hit job—let’s call it what it really is, a hatchet job—when you see the title. But it gets better, for relative terms of better, when you open the book and you get to the epigraph.
“Real power is—I don’t even want to use the word—fear.”
Woodward attributes the quote to President Trump. Of course, being the “good” journalist he is, he doesn’t give the context for the quote. He only gives time and location. After all, it is soooo much better to start off showing what a power-hungry and, shall we go ahead and say it now, evil man Trump is. (yes, tongue is firmly planted in cheek as I type that.)
One thing about it, Woodward does set the tone for the book and he doesn’t disappoint—assuming that is the sort of book you want to read.
Next up is the “Author’s Personal Note”. The tenor begun with the title and the epigraph continues.
President Trump presents a particular hurdle because of the deep emotions and passions he brings out in supporters and critics. (Fear, Kindle location 45-46)
Wow, he’s written five books about four presidents: Nixon, Obama, Clinton and Bush. Yet it is only Trump he seems to think brings out “deep emotions and passions: in his supporters and critics. I guess he slept through the Obama administration, not to mention Bush’s. Or could it be he has something personal against Trump? Or is he, like so many journalists today, falling back to the age of “yellow journalism” seen in the battles between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer?
But let’s see what else he has to say.
Hmm, we might not get to much of the book with this preview. We have the “Author’s Personal Note”. Then we have his “Note to Readers”. Couldn’t these have been combined or is he padding the book? I know. He had a word count from the publisher that he failed to fill and this was the only way he could do it. Or maybe the publishers wanted to make sure there wasn’t much of a preview of the actual book available—could they be worried readers wouldn’t want to buy it if they saw what the book actually contained—and chose this way to pad the beginning? Oh well, those are questions we’ll never have answers to. So let’s see what good ole Bob has to say to his readers.
Ah, here we have Woodward’s own admission that this is a hatchet job on the President and his administration. He tries to dress it up but he fails. When you have an author, especially someone who is supposedly a well-respected investigative journalist, saying that the book is based on interviews conducted as “deep background”, you know it means he is going to play fast and loose. There will be no specific quotes and no specific context given. Here’s what Woodward himself writes:
This means that all the information could be used but I would not say who provided it. (Fear, Kindle location 59-60)
I don’t know about you, but that alone takes this book from non-fiction to fiction. It is also where I would be sending the book back to Amazon and asking for a refund. Which is why I didn’t buy it in the first place. I have no respect for a writer, especially a journalist, who writes this sort of bullshit and doesn’t have the balls to demand his sources go on the record. Hmmm, could Woodward be the one who wrote the Deep State memo to the Times? I doubt it but that anonymous memo is the same sort of hit job as this book appears to be. Trial by innuendo and conviction by media.
To which I call bullshit.
When I have attributed exact quotations, thoughts or conclusions to the participants, that information comes from the person, a colleague with direct knowledge, or from meeting notes, personal diaries, files and government or personal documents. (Fear, Kindle location 61-63)
I don’t know about you, but that statement says to me that he not only accepted but embraced gossip and innuendo more than he did direct knowledge of the situation inside the White House. Frankly, the one thing echoing in my mind—said in a perfect imitation of Governor Ann Richards—is, “Poor Bob, he’s still looking for his next Deep Throat but this isn’t it.”
OMG, we still don’t get to the meat of the book. Now we have a Prologue. Damn but I’m glad I didn’t pay good money for this.
I have to admit, he sets a pretty stage. He paints a scene that could have come out of National Treasure or any entertaining political thriller. It opens with Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic advisor, walking into the Oval Office and crossing to the Resolute Desk. There he sees a one-page letter drafted by Trump to the South Korean president. Cohn then reads the letter and decides he knows better than the President. So he steals the letter. He is, by innuendo, protecting us and the world from our president.
Did Cohn steal the letter or not? No one really knows except Cohn and possibly other members of the Administration. However, if you check the media, you would see no question about it. If you do a Google search, you have to go 7 pages deep before finding anything that might cast doubt on Woodward’s allegation. After all, they have to keep with the narrative, one Woodward is so happy to embrace and do all he can to push.
Does Woodward say Cohn told him about the incident? No. This is one of those “deep cover” interviews apparently. So we don’t know who he talked with. Oh but, Amanda, what about the copy of the letter that good ole Bob released to the media to support his allegations? Again, there is no proof, no attribution of where the letter came from—at least not to my knowledge.
Again, trial by innuendo, conviction by media.
“I stole it off his desk,” he later told an associate. “I wouldn’t let him see it. He’s never going to see that document. Got to protect the country.” (Fear, Kindle location 91-93)
Now we get a bit of a clearer picture. Some “associate”, and who knows who that might be and how far removed from the alleged event, told Woodward about this. Where is the fact-checking? Where is the accountability for the source or for the alleged facts? There is none and I doubt we will see much accountability in the rest of the book.
In the anarchy and disorder of the White House, and Trump’s mind, the president never noticed the missing letter. (Fear, Kindle location 93-94)
Holy hell, talk about bias.
We aren’t even into the meat of the book—hell, we aren’t even into the first frigging chapter of the book—and we get author intrusion so hard and fast it is jarring. We have one incident alleged to have happened but this is enough to prove “anarchy and disorder”. Better yet, Woodward reveals he is also apparently a mind reader. Wow. I guess he gained that power after Watergate. Otherwise, he would have revealed who Deep Throat was, maybe. Who knows what this yellow journalist would have done.
I give up. I’ve never before thrown in the towel on a book for ATH before getting to the first chapter. This is a first. There really isn’t enough booze in the world to get me to read all the Prologue, much less the rest of the book.
Woodward might have once been a good investigative journalist. Now? In my opinion, he’s a hack and I’m probably insulting hacks. This book appears to be nothing but a hit job, violating so many journalistic principles it makes my head spin. No, it makes my stomach turn. My great-grandfather who was a newspaper editor and my uncle after him who was a reporter would have publicly disowned Woodward for this piece of fiction.
Don’t waste your time or your money on this. Seriously, don’t. Unless you want to use it for kindling or target practice. All Fire is is confirmation the liberals are in control of most of mainstream publishing and are doing all they can to push their agenda of making sure there is a Blue Wave come the mid-term election. I won’t even talk about the fact this piece of crap (and I’m insulting crap) came out on 9/11. That is simply the ultimate insult to our country and to our intelligence.
Gawd, where’s the booze? I need booze.
*Get the woman some booze – SAH*