If two women squabbling is a “cat fight,” would two men going after one another be a “dog fight?” Regardless, The Washington Post’s Bob “Watergate” Woodward is in the middle of quite a war of words with The Nation’s David “Tax the Rich” Corn that, of course, goes counter to their pacifistic proclivities. The melee began last Friday when Corn published a blog piece suggesting that Woodward’s book “Plan of Attack” did not accurately depict a January 2003 conversation at the White House between President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. On April 4, Woodward struck back. In a letter published at Corn’s blog at The Nation, Woodward began:
“I was genuinely shocked to read your recent column "Woodward and Reality." The column is thoroughly dishonest and represents another low for journalism. Apparently facts don't matter to you if you think you can score a point.”
Of course, this could be said of most antique media reporting. Regardless, round one went to Woodward. After going through a point-by-point analysis of where Corn was wrong in his assertions, Woodward questioned if Corn even read “Plan of Attack”: “As I said to you on the phone, I think you are naive about the political stakes--those were the issues for the leaders and this is my focus in reporting the meeting because it was their focus. Bush had already decided on war, Blair knew it, and even a casual reader of Plan of Attack would have known it.”
Round two to Woodward. He continued:
"What I find most disturbing is that you knew it also but that fact just did not fit your disfiguring story line. So what did you do? You just left it out. You really ought to be embarrassed. It is just not sound to take one scene from, say, a movie and criticize it for not having all the information in some of the earlier or later important scenes. It is the same for a book.”
Round three to Woodward who then went for the knockout:
“You wrote a book, The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception. So, is your approach to adopt the methods and techniques of those you criticize? Has it reached that point? Should deception be matched with deception? Is that the way to straighten out American political dialogue? You owe me but more importantly your readers an apology.”
For those interested, Corn’s response follows Woodward’s letter here.