As details from Fear, Bob Woodward’s new book about the Trump administration, exploded across the Twittersphere yesterday, jaws dropped in response to its revelations, including that Trump’s top advisers consider him to have the intelligence of a fifth grader, that they hide papers from him to protect national security, and that he ordered the assassination of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (The White House, caught off guard, initially had no response at all.) Although the book paints a similar picture as previous books — of an administration swirling in chaos around an impetuous, vaporous president — Woodward’s work is being given special import: He’s an icon of American journalism who uncovered the malfeasance of a previous commander-in-chief.
Bob Woodward = Woodward & Bernstein = Watergate
With fellow Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, Woodward broke open the Watergate scandal, which ultimately implicated President Nixon and led to his resignation in August 1974. Woodward and Bernstein became household names — and perhaps journalism’s most famous duo ever — in a series of articles assiduously reported over 18 months. The Post won the Pulitzer Price in 1973 for public service because of their coverage. Woodward, now 75, has worked for the Post since 1971 as a reporter and associate editor.
He was played by Robert Redford
Woodward and Bernstein were depicted onscreen in the Oscar-winning 1976 movie All the President’s Men, which has been included in the National Film Registry. (It was adapted by the duo’s 1974 book by the same name.) The movie accurately depicted Woodward and Bernstein’s attempts to uncover verifiable facts about the Watergate break-in, including occasional missteps and struggle to get sources to talk, leading to cinema’s most famous anonymous source, code-named Deep Throat.
Bob Woodward has written 18 best-selling books, including a Belushi bio
Woodward has written or co-written 18 New York Times bestsellers, 12 of which have hit No. 1. His oeuvre includes four books on the George W. Bush presidency and Wired, a biography of the late comedian John Belushi. Woodward has also written books about the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
In Bob Woodward vs. Trump, a lot of people are Team Woodward
In response to President Trump’s complaints that the details in Fear are fabricated, even (admittedly anonymous) White House insiders are siding with Woodward because of his reputation for meticulous sourcing and first-person verification.
He has been credited with giving Washington the ultimate read
Conservative commentator David Frum once said of Woodward: “From his books, you can draw a composite profile of the powerful Washington player. That person is highly circumspect, highly risk averse, eschews new ideas, flatters his colleagues to their face (while trashing them to Woodward behind their backs), and is always careful to avoid career-threatening confrontation. We all admire heroes, but Woodward’s books teach us that those who rise to leadership are precisely those who take care to abjure heroism for themselves.”