Bob Woodward book “Fear” there has been an unofficial coup

aliceanne

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CSPAN had an interview with Woodward about the book yesterday (it is probably on their website). I came in where they were playing a tape of Woodward telling Trump that the book was coming out. Woodward first told him he was taping, Trump said OK, then they went back and forth for about 10 minutes Woodward saying he never got access to interview Trump for the book, Trump saying nobody told me. Woodward saying I went to 7 people, Trump saying no one told me. At one point Woodward said he met with Kellyanne. Trump called Kellyanne to the phone, Kellyanne said the request was denied, Trump said no one told me, Woodward saying I asked 7 people, Trump no one told me....I changed stations at that point.

It doesn't sound like Woodward has anything new to tell us. Apparently he and Trump traveled in the same social circles about 20 years ago, so he may have some first hand anecdotes from back then, but I don't expect any hard-hitting journalism. Basically Trump brushed him off and he was left to collect hearsay. Trump's tweets about the book will probably be more revealing than the book itself.
 

ballettmaus

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It doesn't sound like Woodward has anything new to tell us. Apparently he and Trump traveled in the same social circles about 20 years ago, so he may have some first hand anecdotes from back then, but I don't expect any hard-hitting journalism. Basically Trump brushed him off and he was left to collect hearsay. Trump's tweets about the book will probably be more revealing than the book itself.
No, he wasn't left to hearsay because he isn't writing what Trump is or isn't doing. He is writing about interactions and what aides/members of the administration are doing and saying.

Woodward writes that his book is drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses that were conducted on “deep background,” meaning the information could be used but he would not reveal who provided it. His account is also drawn from meeting notes, personal diaries and government documents.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/poli...f63ab8b1370_story.html?utm_term=.8691ea53d085

I also find it significant that Trump only seems to have authority when they want him to have it. We suspected it but the book confirms it. And while some in the administration seem to be very capable, this isn't how it's supposed to work. Imagine what foreigners will do with that information. (Which is why part of me is opposed to the release of the book. The public has a right to know and he has a right to publish, still, I'm not sure it's entirely a good thing).


Trump is apparently trying to find out who did and didn't talk to Woodward https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/05/politics/trump-woodward-book-leakers/index.html
 

Prancer

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Basically Trump brushed him off and he was left to collect hearsay.
Or personal stories from people working with Trump and/or in the White House.

It's not hearsay if he got it directly from a person actively involved.
 

aliceanne

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Then you missed the part where Trump admitted that Lindsey Graham did tell him that Woodward was writing a book and wanted to interview him.
Yes I heard that part, but Graham doesn’t work at the White House so he wouldn’t be scheduling or approving interviews with the President. Yes, Trump knew Woodward was writing a book, but he claims he didn’t know any formal request for an interview was made.
 

Andora

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Yes I heard that part, but Graham doesn’t work at the White House so he wouldn’t be scheduling or approving interviews with the President. Yes, Trump knew Woodward was writing a book, but he claims he didn’t know any formal request for an interview was made.
Either I don't understand your angle, or it's really hilarious that you're questioning Bob Woodward's methods/ability. I just... :lol:

Honestly, I couldn't stop laughing when I found out about the book and who authored it earlier this week. I guess it won't make much difference with stock insane Trump supporters (and at this point, that's about the nicest thing I can say about them), but it's a hard thing to just brush off like Omarosa's, etc.
 

Vagabond

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Yes I heard that part, but Graham doesn’t work at the White House so he wouldn’t be scheduling or approving interviews with the President. Yes, Trump knew Woodward was writing a book, but he claims he didn’t know any formal request for an interview was made.
Donald Trump has said 2436 false things as U.S. president. And that doesn't include statements of opinion for which evidentiary support is lacking to say the least. For example,Trump also claims that no one has ever done a better job as President.:shuffle:
 

jeffisjeff

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This morning NPR had an ad for one of its comedy shows (probably Wait Wait Don't Tell Me). The ad started with summarizing the Woodward book and NYT op-ed and then said "Experts agree that the leaks could only have come from one of the 300 million Americans who has ever seen the President on TV."

It was a funny joke, but also a sad commentary. The fact of the matter is that anyone who has paid any attention over the past 2 years should have had at least a clue at this point the President is amoral, in over his head and prone to following his worst instincts. But I am sure that the "I'd rather be Russian than a Democrat" crowd will never get that.
 

jeffisjeff

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aliceanne

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Or personal stories from people working with Trump and/or in the White House.

It's not hearsay if he got it directly from a person actively involved.
We’ll see how many people are willing to be quoted by name
Either I don't understand your angle, or it's really hilarious that you're questioning Bob Woodward's methods/ability. I just... :lol:

Honestly, I couldn't stop laughing when I found out about the book and who authored it earlier this week. I guess it won't make much difference with stock insane Trump supporters (and at this point, that's about the nicest thing I can say about them), but it's a hard thing to just brush off like Omarosa's, etc.
Why do I have to have an angle? Based on the interview I heard the Trump organization shut Woodward down. Yes that says something about the Trump administration but on that basis I don’t expect the book to reveal anything we don’t already know.

Woodward isn’t infallible or without bias, you should question any source.

I think the Anti- Trumpers are just as rigid and uncritical in their beliefs as the Trumpers.
I didn’t choose him, but I don’t think that automatically makes the Democrats and their supporters saints.
 

ballettmaus

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We’ll see how many people are willing to be quoted by name
What does that have to do with hearsay? It's not hearsay when someone refuses to be named but was present.


Why do I have to have an angle? Based on the interview I heard the Trump organization shut Woodward down.
They didn't give Woodward access to Trump but he had plenty of access to everyone else. Since the book isn't about Trump specifically but the WH, I'm having as much of a problem seeing what your point is as others. If three people were present in a situation and one was Trump and Woodward talked to the other two who cares if he talked to Trump as well? Trump would have lied to him anyway.
 

znhurston

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We’ll see how many people are willing to be quoted by name


Why do I have to have an angle? Based on the interview I heard the Trump organization shut Woodward down. Yes that says something about the Trump administration but on that basis I don’t expect the book to reveal anything we don’t already know.

Woodward isn’t infallible or without bias, you should question any source.

I think the Anti- Trumpers are just as rigid and uncritical in their beliefs as the Trumpers.
I didn’t choose him, but I don’t think that automatically makes the Democrats and their supporters saints.
This is Woodwards's 8th book about the inner workings of an American presidency, all his books have sold well, and almost all have sparked controversy within the administrations he was profiling. Neither the Obama nor Clinton administrations were happy with the books Woodward wrote about them for many of the same reasons the Trump people are now complaining. And Woodward's book about George W. Bush was criticized for being too soft on W. The only difference here is that Trump, unlike previous presidents, did not grant Woodward an interview. The notion that Trump didn't know about the request defies belief. Moreover, I think when the book is released it will become clear that there will be lots of new information in it. All we've gotten so far are the juicy bits about Trump's behavior designed to gin up sales.
 

Jenny

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If three people were present in a situation and one was Trump and Woodward talked to the other two who cares if he talked to Trump as well? Trump would have lied to him anyway.
Exactly. Donald Trump is the most unreliable source on the planet, I don't know why any credible journalist would ever interview him.

He's also the person who has consistently, since he threw his hat in the race, cited "lots of people" as saying things, without naming names or citing published sources, and more often than not, being proven wrong.
 

Prancer

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This is Woodwards's 8th book about the inner workings of an American presidency, all his books have sold well, and almost all have sparked controversy within the administrations he was profiling. Neither the Obama nor Clinton administrations were happy with the books Woodward wrote about them for many of the same reasons the Trump people are now complaining. And Woodward's book about George W. Bush was criticized for being too soft on W.
What complaints did the Obama, Bush and Trump administrations have in common regarding Woodward's books?

Honest question, as I don't know the answer.

It seems to me that the first consideration should be, is what Woodward reports accurate? This will be difficult to assess, given that the general public has few ways to verify this kind of information. But it always amazes me that people think anything else is a primary issue.

In terms of criticism, the question is not whether or not there is criticism, because the answer is yes, but whether the criticism has merit.
 

znhurston

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What complaints did the Obama, Bush and Trump administrations have in common regarding Woodward's books?

Honest question, as I don't know the answer.

It seems to me that the first consideration should be, is what Woodward reports accurate? This will be difficult to assess, given that the general public has few ways to verify this kind of information. But it always amazes me that people think anything else is a primary issue.

In terms of criticism, the question is not whether or not there is criticism, because the answer is yes, but whether the criticism has merit.
All criticized the use of anonymous sources; Woodward uses a combination of on- and off-the-record sources. And throughout his almost 50-year career his reporting has always been proven to be accurate. Yes, there have been instances where he got minor details wrong but, in the main, Woodward has always been on the money in his reporting.
 

Prancer

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All criticized the use of anonymous sources; Woodward uses a combination of on- and off-the-record sources. And throughout his almost 50-year career his reporting has always been proven to be accurate. Yes, there have been instances where he got minor details wrong but, in the main, Woodward has always been on the money in his reporting.
I thought this interview with Jen Psaki, former White House communications director in the Obama administration (and a CNN contributor) and Ari Fleischer, who served as the press secretary for Bush, about Woodward's books was interesting, especially these comments:

Cillizza: Once Woodward's book came out, what percent of the stuff in it came as a total shock to you? And how did you handle the negative press?

Psaki: Looking back, most of it should not have been a shock. The surprise was more about how detailed the leaks were about private conversations and negotiations.

There are only a few things you can do 1. Try to raise doubt about the accuracy by picking apart some pieces. 2. Attack the author. 3. Put out the people who are depicted in the book to pull it apart. We did versions of all of these. But ultimately when the themes of the book are not wildly wrong, it is only so effective to pull apart anecdotes. That is also the root of Trump's problem.


Cillizza: Finish this sentence: "The single best thing for Trump to do in response to the Woodward book is ________." Now, explain.

Fleischer: In President Trump's defense, there is no question anonymity can give people license to say things that are incorrect or go too far. His chief of staff and defense secretary have denied what they were alleged to have said. Woodward doesn't make things up and someone told him these two people said these things. Trump and his staff are within their rights to challenge the accuracy of whoever fed the information to Woodward.
 

MacMadame

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Yes, Trump knew Woodward was writing a book, but he claims he didn’t know any formal request for an interview was made.
:rolleyes: He knew Woodward was writing a book and he knew Woodward wanted to interview him for the book. He admitted it.

I don’t think that automatically makes the Democrats and their supporters saints.
And where is anyone in this thread saying they are? Or even implying it?
 

snoopy

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I don’t know what Democrats have to do with Woodward or his book anyway.

I guess humans get stuck in binary thinking. The world can only run one of two tracks. You are either this OR that. And there are no other possibilities.
 

aliceanne

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I thought this interview with Jen Psaki, former White House communications director in the Obama administration (and a CNN contributor) and Ari Fleischer, who served as the press secretary for Bush, about Woodward's books was interesting, especially these comments:

Cillizza: Once Woodward's book came out, what percent of the stuff in it came as a total shock to you? And how did you handle the negative press?

Psaki: Looking back, most of it should not have been a shock. The surprise was more about how detailed the leaks were about private conversations and negotiations.

There are only a few things you can do 1. Try to raise doubt about the accuracy by picking apart some pieces. 2. Attack the author. 3. Put out the people who are depicted in the book to pull it apart. We did versions of all of these. But ultimately when the themes of the book are not wildly wrong, it is only so effective to pull apart anecdotes. That is also the root of Trump's problem.

Cillizza: Finish this sentence: "The single best thing for Trump to do in response to the Woodward book is ________." Now, explain.

Fleischer: In President Trump's defense, there is no question anonymity can give people license to say things that are incorrect or go too far. His chief of staff and defense secretary have denied what they were alleged to have said. Woodward doesn't make things up and someone told him these two people said these things. Trump and his staff are within their rights to challenge the accuracy of whoever fed the information to Woodward.
I agree. I doubt Woodward fabricated his sources, but anonymous sources and disgruntled former employees are easy to discredit, so I don’t think his book will change any minds or produce any smoking guns.

I think we all knew long before Trump became President that he was rude, crude, and amoral. To me at least, I don’t find it news that foreign governments try to influence each other’s elections or that there are paid internet trolls. As far as Omarosa, Stormy, Manafort, Cohen and company are concerned if they were dumb enough to get involved with Trump they deserve what they get (and vice versa).

I would like to see some media and politician focus on some of the real issues of the day: affordable healthcare, affordable housing, too much student loan debt, balancing energy and environmental needs, realistic immigration policy.

All the impotent outrage over Trump doesn’t accomplish anything. So he gets impeached, then what? The next Presidential election is two years away and I don’t see any serious challengers to Trump.

Trump got elected because he made promises he couldn’t fulfill. His outrageous sound bites and behavior are diversions from that fact, and they work.
 

Prancer

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I would like to see some media and politician focus on some of the real issues of the day: affordable healthcare, affordable housing, too much student loan debt, balancing energy and environmental needs, realistic immigration policy.
While I agree completely that all the outrage over Trump accomplishes nothing, I find this statemement rather odd, as I think there has been a lot of focus on healthcare, housing, student loan debt, balancing energy and environmental needs, and realistic immigration policy. Most of it has been outrage in response to the focus on dismantling affordable health care, reducing affordable housing, removing protections for students with student loan debt, removing protections for the environment, and increasing immigration strictures, all of which comes from having Trump as President with a Republican Congress. At this point, the people who want the things you apparently want are in defense mode, trying to find a way to preserve what protections and laws were in place. No one is in a position to promote them. Do you think this would change somehow if, say, "the media" and politicians change focus?

Trump got elected because he made promises he couldn’t fulfill.
And yet, what I hear from Trump supporters is that he is doing all the things he said he would do--cutting taxes, getting the US out of various international deals, cracking down on immigration, deregulating everything, etc. I know a lot of people who don't like Trump, but they like what he's getting done, which is, I think, what that anonymous op-ed was all about--it was reassurance that even though Trump is insane and immoral, the Republican agenda is in good hands. And the Republican agenda is not affordable healthcare, affordable housing, reducing student loan debt, balancing energy and environmental needs, and realistic immigration policy.
 

ballettmaus

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I agree. I doubt Woodward fabricated his sources, but anonymous sources and disgruntled former employees are easy to discredit, so I don’t think his book will change any minds or produce any smoking guns.
I don't think anything or anyone will change their minds because they believe Trump's narrative that everyone is out to get him.


I think we all knew long before Trump became President that he was rude, crude, and amoral.
We did. We also knew of his authoritarian tendencies. What we didn't know though was that his own staff would defy him. To me, that is the actual take-away from the book, that, apparently, his cabinet and his aides don't trust him enough and don't think he is able to fulfill his duty and still, they protect him instead of using their constitutional power (the cabinet) to do something about it. They're putting their reputation and the image of their party over the country. That is something I did not expect to see to such an extent.


I would like to see some media and politician focus on some of the real issues of the day: affordable healthcare, affordable housing, too much student loan debt, balancing energy and environmental needs, realistic immigration policy.
They are. I follow a few on twitter and they regularly tweet about any of these issues. The problem is that the MSM is not picking it up or at least not in the way they should. Trump's various scandals and controveries, his rallies, Russia and yet another exposing book sell much better than "mundane" policy issues.
But this week's Democratic address is on healthcare, for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pQGR_v5joI


All the impotent outrage over Trump doesn’t accomplish anything.
You think people shouldn't be outraged over his rhetoric and his authoritarianism and the way that he is reshaping the judiciary and his racism?
 

Vash01

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We’ll see how many people are willing to be quoted by name


Why do I have to have an angle? Based on the interview I heard the Trump organization shut Woodward down. Yes that says something about the Trump administration but on that basis I don’t expect the book to reveal anything we don’t already know.

Woodward isn’t infallible or without bias, you should question any source.

I think the Anti- Trumpers are just as rigid and uncritical in their beliefs as the Trumpers.
I didn’t choose him, but I don’t think that automatically makes the Democrats and their supporters saints.
Nobody said Democrats are saints but compared to the republicans they have shown a lot more integrity and commitment to the country.

I ordered Woodward's book from Amazon. It will be released on Sept. 11th. Cant wait to read it. I will draw my conclusions after reading the book. It seems you have judged the book before it even got published.
 

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