Monday, December 25, 2006

Note to editor at Fighting Dems: I Can't Believe I'm Starting to like Warren Beatty

Noel – Someone needs to do an investigation of the Washington Post from top to bottom since post-war. Directly after the 9/11 I had a friendly email conversation for a few weeks with an editor of the NYTs. I said that their should be a remake of All the President’s Men directed by Robert Redford with Bob Woodward as a Navy intelligence plant as a young reporter planting phony “Watergate” stories at the Wash. Post. I claimed that “Deep Throat” was always a CIA or NSA agent and when Woodward’s Council of Elders decided Nixon was too much trouble (and the country on the verge of Civil War as Kissinger put it at the time), he and his handler, Wa Post editor Ben Bradley were alerted. What a surprise a year or so later to learn that Deep Throat was actually in fact, an FBI agent. In the Age of Oprah, any cover story will hold. (We will sustain fascism even if its equal opportunity and has a catchy ending.)

Compare the careers of Bob Woodward with Wayne King, who are about the same age and went through similar career paths; Woodward becoming a managing editor of the Wa. Post, Wayne managing editor of the NYTs. Wayne King went to UNC – Chapel Hill as an undergraduate. There he went through a characteristic journalism apprenticeship interviewing people like Malcolm X and got a job after college at the Detroit Free Press. He covered civil rights riots in Detroit and won a Pulitzer Prize for his efforts. He was then drafted into the NYTs and served as managing editor for maybe 20 years.

I was a graduate student in journalism at Temple U. at the time. The general idea then was that to get a job at a big paper like the NYTs and the Wa Post you needed to win a Pulitzer at a small paper – reporters I knew of from Northampton, MA, and Philly papers went to the Wa Post only after winning Pulitzers.

Bob Woodward, on the other hand, had a different experience. He went to Yale as an undergraduate – the original breeding grounds of CIA in the days of Wild Bill Donovan. After graduation Woodward went in the Navy and worked at Navy “information services” (did someone say intelligence?) for five years. At discharge he worked four or five months at a regional newspaper in Maryland and then went directly to the Wa Post and on to major stories like Watergate.

I think Nora Epron should write this movie, Redford direct: Redford star as Ben Brantley, old school CIA handler, patriot and Wa Post editor; Nora Ephron as Katharine Graham, Carl Bernstein as Casey and Leonardo DiCaprio as Bob Woodward, young Navy intelligence officer, undercover NSA operator and Wa Post reporter, and Matt Damon as his toked-up sidekick, Carl Bernstein.

Woodward was all balls-to-the-wall with this Iraq invasion, hyperventilating with his neocon buddies on Jim Lehrer’s Newhour (Jim, a Marine in Korea , should have known better) just days before the invasion. He wrote the ridicules Bush at War to egg them on, then when it turned bad on them he turned on them State of Denial . It has been perhaps a Woodward masquerade from beginning to end; perhaps since before Watergate. And while I'm fired up here, first efforts of the new Congress should be a Quizling Commission to discover how many reporters, Senators, State people and Administrators are agents acting in the service of other countries (including Israel and Saudi Arabia - including George W. Bush & family). Richard Perle was writing intelligence for both Israel and the U.S. 12 years ago if I am correct.

We in our country have forgotten it but a quizling is a citizen of one country who is actually acting as an agent of another. This used to be considered bad form to the point that if you did so say, in teh Korean War, you would be shot. Today the question is not are you an agent of say Israel or Saudi Arabia, but to what degree are you an agent of a foreign country? It's not just the Repubs. Warren Beatty, lib dem to the highest water mark, but old-school, no let's-quit-them-from-smoking-and-eating-transfats lace curtain liberals, told the NYTs in Bill Clinton's last days that Bill Clinton should be sent to jail for taking such influence and cash into the millions. (And I can't believe I'm Starting to like Warren Beatty.)