Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: Woodward to Do Book on Obama? Don’t Make Me Laugh! More.

Feast of Blessed  Edward Jones and Blessed Antony Middleton.* 
                 Woodward on Obama: Get Ready for a Canonization. 
          One of the major cons in the reportorial-investigative game is Bob Woodward, the Washington Post Pulitzer prize winner who made his stash with the Watergate tome All the King’s Men. Beginning as a beat reporter covering the courts, Woodward and Carl Bernstein did an excellent job running down Watergate leads while other deep thinkers such as David Broder were scooped, preferred doing “in depth” issue treatises on Nixon’s foreign-domestic policies that put everyone to sleep. 
          As a former Nixonian who prior to Watergate was fired in a dispute over minority enterprise which I ran in Commerce and who had some touch inside the White House at that time, I…along with everyone else…was transfixed with the possible identity of “Deep Throat”—the so-called Nixon insider who was supposedly leaking his guts to Woodward (and Bernstein).  When the true identity of the supposed insider came out, it was equivalent to Dorothy’s little dog Toto knocking down the screen to reveal a little bald man on a loudspeaker running the “I am Oz!  Tremble!” charade. I knew enough about the Nixon White House to fantasize who would have sufficient “inside” information—and believe me it wasn’t the guy who owned up to being “Deep Throat”—Mark Felt, assistant director of the FBI. 
          Even a second-string Nixon nobody like me knows that Felt would not be in a position to reveal the innermost dealings of the White House…because he was far-far out of the loop.  The only candidates would be someone really close to the inner workings. That would have to be Haldeman, Ehrlichman, John Dean, John Sears (a brilliant operative who was fired by John Mitchell but who remained impressively close to the Nixon operation notwithstanding), David Gergen, Pat Buchanan and/or  Leonard Garment.  Simply speaking, there was nobody in the White House aside from these guys who knew anything at all about the president’s inner designs or feelings.    Certainly not an outsider like Felt who was ideological miles removed from the Nixonians and swas working for an outsider, L. Patrick Gray who was director at the time of the Watergate break-in and beyond. 
            In fact the goofy scenario related in the book of Deep Throat moving a flower pot from one side to the other side of a balcony of his apartment building doesn’t compute…and never did…because Felt’s apartment was on the inside of the building and no balcony or flower-pot could be viewed from the street.  Likewise as one who personally knew Hugh Sloan, the treasurer of the Committee to Reelect the President, I doubt very strongly that a guy like Felt who was light years away from the campaign was their source—but Sloan’s involvement was not very hard to pinpoint anyhow. 
            My conclusion is that Woodward (and Bernstein) but principally Woodward had to add a touch of glamour and chutzpah to the story and invented out of whole cloth the fiction that W. Mark Felt was the guy. Felt probably gave Woodward and Bernstein stuff but to imagine that Felt was so inside that he could virtually translate the pulse-beat of the White House is folly.  The clandestine meetings in the empty public garage late at night also adds to the glorious whodunit quality of the book.  Instead of getting the Pulitzer, Woodward should have received the National Book award for compelling fiction.  Except that he’s a very prosaic meat-and-potatoes rhetorician and has to rely on stunts like “Deep Throat” to make a sale.  
         The lavish praise Woodward received from liberals for bringing down Nixon has spurred him to take even greater chances with his succeeding best-sellers.  One outrage wasVeil: The Secret Wars of the CIA—1981-1987.  Veil purported to tell the inside story of the CIA’s wars, especially the machinations by Ronald Reagan’s CIA Director Bill Casey to keep arms flowing to the Nicaraguan Contras.  The point in the book where barfing is almost mandatory comes when Casey, hours before he was due to testify before Congress, was rendered incapacitated with a brain seizure and taken to the hospital where, mute as a post, he had lost the capacity for speech…due, physicians said, to a massive clot of cancer cells on the brain. 
          Somehow Woodward would have his readers believe that he…Woodward…evaded top security that was placed around Casey’s hospital room and actually entered the room in hospital guise.  Not only that, he purportedly asked the mute and dying Casey whether he knew of the plans Oliver North was implementing to smuggle arms to the Contras. 
         This is where the barf comes. According to Woodward, Casey who was bedridden and struck dumb with the ravages of his illness, turned to face the wall and nodded…YES.  The angriest one after the book appeared was Casey’s wife who maintained a death vigil all day and all night and would have known if Woodward, disguised as a male nurse, would have come to the room and asked him the climactic question. 
         Woodward is more than a chronic liar and script dramatist-inventor.  He is a top player for the Left, molding fiction into requisite acceptable pseudo-truth.  Look for the Obama book to rescue Obama’s falling prestige which would qualify Woodward not just to get another Pulitzer but to qualify for the Nobel Prize for literature, awarded by the same five Norwegian Lefties who gave Obama the Peace prize…just in time for 2012. 
           Thus is the hoked up premises that liberalism has to satisfy itself with rather than the truth.       
                Channel 2 Handles Marshall Matter with Utmost Class.  
         My strongly favorite TV news channel, Channel 2, CBS in Chicago veered a bit off the mark the other day when a political news producer, Ed Marshall, gave a Dutch uncle talk to GOP Senate candidate Mark Kirk…telling him that it may stop covering him or the Senate race if Kirk continues to harp on the failure of Alexi Giannoulias’ family bank and Giannoulias’ responsibility for it. 
         Marshall…whoever he is…said that CBS upstairs had decided to black out news about the Senate race if Kirk stressed that issue.  Frankly, it’s the height of arrogance for any news outlet to all but order a candidate what not to say in a campaign. But it reflects “Walter’s Perspective”…the tired haranguing of `60s-70s old-time IVI-IPO  warrior Skippy Jacobson who has an editorial segment on the otherwise extraordinarily good station.  Skippy…always a voice of the Left even when it’s outdated…recently grumbled in an editorial that the news media was overdoing it on the Giannoulias bank. No one can remember when he did the same about Republican embarrassments.  
        “Alexi’s been pilloried,” Marshall said…which makes you think he has a personal, immediate concern for Giannoulias’ political welfare.  
            This is what Marshall said to Kirk: “Channel 2’s made a decision. We’re really not going to cover the Senate race if it consistently, only in your terms, is about Broadway Bank.  The bank’s been taken over by the government; Alexi’s been pilloried. Tell me: what is your campaign going forward [sic]?  What are the issues that you are going to tell the voters why they should vote for you?” 
            Then Kirk listed a whole litany of issues: small business help, fiscal responsibility and integrity…and then honesty in government. 
           MARSHALL: “So from this time forward you’re not going to spend time on the Broadway Bank issue because every day I get that release from Eric [Kirk’s press secretary] that says `Reality Check.’ Alexi tries to change the conversation, you know.” 
          Kirk answered correctly: “I’m not going to be able to control the debate. You will.” 
           That’s the most egregious example of a supposedly objective TV producer muscling one candidate in favor of another candidate that I’ve seen since I started in this business in 1953…and Marshall had the effrontery to make no bones about it but to put it on the record.  He should be taken off the political beat.   
            Now having said all this, CBS-TV 2 Chicago handled this story with utmost class. It ran the unedited transcript and published it as well on its website.  It summarized this way which is high-minded and beautiful: “CBS 2 will continue to report on the Kirk-Giannoulias campaign all the way to November. And we will continue to report on any new developments involving the failed Broadway Bank. However, CBS 2 will also challenge the candidates to talk about many important issues beyond the Broadway Bank, facing citizens of Illinois.” 
          The news staff of CBS 2 Chicago is almost uniformly excellent. Starting with the anchor Rob Johnson and particularly Mike Parker who is a thoroughly erudite and highly responsible newsman.  Many-many years ago I watched in awe as Parker interviewed Mother Teresa of Calcutta (I was a volunteer with the Institute of Religious Life then, helping her get her pitifully small carpet-bag of belongings and  driving her to what was then Felician College for her address.)  
         I stood in the background and watched Mike Parker interview her  before she went on.  And let me tell you: His questions showed such a depth of understanding and nuance of religious, intellectual and spiritual feeling for a secular reporter that I was amazed: the greatest feat of interviewing I’ve seen in my 81 years on this earth.  He’s the finest employee CBS 2 has.  Tough-minded, fair with a clear no-nonsense presentation as he stands at the anchor desk.  Everyone else is terrific too…but I have a special regard for Parker and Johnson. 
          Ho-Hum says AP: Voter Turnout Was Down. Wait a Minute!  
          No sooner were the primaries in Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina over last night when the chorus of liberal pundits, lifting a bogus “analysis” from the Associated Press, enthused that voter turnout was down when the AP said nullified the Tea Party’ers and the big hubbub about conservative anger. Perky Katie Couric this morning followed the tune.  But the real story is that it was the Democrats’ turnout that was down. Republican turnout was UP. 
           In Ohio 663,000 Dems turned out for the party primary compared with 872,000 in 2006, a comparable off-year year with supposed intra-party excitement.   But the Republicans’ only major contested office was secretary of state and they turned out a total of 728,000.  
          In North Carolina, the Dems turnout was  down 14.4%the Republicans at 373,000—up from 343,000 in 2008.  
         And in Indiana the GOP drew 550,000—up 14.6% over 2006 when Dick Lugar ran unopposed.   No comparable figures for the Indiana Dems since Evan Bayh pulled out quite late and they will have a convention to nominate presumably Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Evansville.        
       Now nobody knows for sure nor can they tell whether the big turnout for Republicans will hold true for November…but it must have surely pained the AP to consider the difference in turnout—with the result that it didn’t.  
       *: Blessed Edward Jones and Blessed Antony Middleton, Martyrs [AD 1590]. Both Edward Jones, a Welshman and Antony Middleton, a Yorkshireman, were educated at Douai College in Rheims, ordained priests and trained for the mission of entering Britain surreptitiously when the island was involved in desperate manhunts for Catholics under the fierce, bloody persecution by Elizabeth I. . Middleton came to London in 1586 an due to his youthful appearance was able to preach and teach for a long time without arousing suspicion. Jones came two years later. 
        They were tracked down by spies who professed to be Catholics and were hanged before the doors of the houses on Fleet Street and Clerkenwell where they had been arrested, signs proclaiming that they were being hanged “For Treason and Foreign Invasion.” Middleton, whose request that he might address the watchers-on was rejected, called God to witness that he died simply and solely for the Catholic faith and for being a priest and preacher of the true religion.  
      He then prayed that his death might obtain the forgiveness of his sins, the advancement of the Catholic faith and the conversion of heretics. According to testimony of eyewitnesses, his remarks to angered the hangman that while he was dying on the scaffold he was cut down, flung off the ladder and disemboweled while still alive.

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