Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Wall Street Journal Edition)


I thought "Washington Wire" was the product of the news side of the WSJ? If it's going to have random intrusions from the Gamma Quadrant that is the editorial side, it's going to be a lot less useful than it might have been.

Washington Wire: Peggy Noonan writes in today's Journal:

Thirty-two years into his career as a writer of books, Bob Woodward has won a reputation as slipshod... slippery... opportunistic... and generally unaware of the implications even of those facts he's offered that have gone unchallenged.... The Bush White House has spent the past five years thinking they could manage him. Talk about a state of denial.

Now he has thwarted me. I bought "State of Denial" thinking I might have a merry time bashing it and a satisfying time defending the innocent injured.

But it is a good book. It may be a great one. It is serious, densely, even exhaustively, reported, and a real contribution to history in that it gives history what it most requires, first-person testimony. (It is well documented, with copious notes.) What is most striking is that Mr. Woodward seems to try very hard to be fair, not in a phony "Armitage, however, denies it" way, but in a way that -- it will seem too much to say this -- reminded me of Jean Renoir: "The real hell of life is that everyone has his reasons."

Yes. It is too much to say that "State of Denial" reminds one of "La Regle de Jeu". And take a look the part of Noonan's first paragraph that whoever edits "Washington Wire" finds it too embarrassing to quote:

Declarations - As a writer [Woodward's] style has been to lard unconnected sentences with extraneous data in order to give his assertions a fact-y weight that suggests truth is being told. And so:

On July 23, 1994, at 4:18 p.m., the meeting over, the president gazed out the double-paned windows of the Oval Office, built in October 1909 by workers uncovered by later minimum wage legislation, and saw the storm moving in. "I think I'll kill my wife," he said, the words echoing in the empty room.

I made that up. It's my homage [to Woodward]...

That's bats--- insane. That is insanity of a kind that shows that the Magic Dolphin Lady is even more unhinged than I would have thought possible.


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