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The Economics of Being Bob Woodward

The New York Observer analyzes Bob Woodward's relationship with the Washington Post as one of economics - Woodward has become so much of a cash cow for the paper, and so rich himself, that there is no controlling him. Nor, it seems, does the paper have any idea what he's working on. There are some juicy tidbits and quotes. Here are a few, but go read the whole thing.

Publisher Leonard Downie:

Asked to explain why he’d been out of touch, Mr. Downie replied, “Because he’s a rich man, who has an entire floor of his house as his office, and he has a staff of his own working for him. He doesn’t come into the office so much. We have to take the initiative to talk to each other.”

The details of his book income:

Even if Mr. Woodward were the highest-paid executive at the Washington Post Company, it’s unlikely that the newspaper could pay him more than a fraction of what the publishing house does.

Mr. Woodward’s more successful books can sell upward of 300,000 to 600,000 copies (one rough estimate, from Nielsen Bookscan, has 2004’s Plan of Attack in hardcover selling 471,000 copies, and 2002’s Bush at War at 512,000); at $25 to $28 a copy, Mr. Woodward might make $3 to $4 in royalties on each sale, putting his take squarely in the millions....

A rival editor has this to say:

“Bob Woodward’s allegiance is to celebrity,” said an executive at another major publishing house. “In the old days, reporters were like Seymour Hersh, out in the trenches, digging around someone’s garbage. I think of Woodward with his cufflinks on in the cloth dining rooms in Washington. Or in the President’s office. Like he’s one of them.”

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  • Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#1)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:43 PM EST
    Wearing his cufflinks in the Oval Office? I woulda said kneepads...

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:43 PM EST
    Wow! How many employees get to routinely thumb their nose at the "boss"?

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:44 PM EST
    Woodward has become so much of a cash cow for the paper, and so rich himself, that there is no controlling him.
    Why is that you want to control Woodward? After all this ruckus about the military purchasing articles in the Iraqi press in an attempt to control the press, I would have assumed that control of the press is exactly what you lefties are fighting against. Could this be an example of the "hipocrisy of the left" that doesn't really exist?

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:44 PM EST
    Variable - there is a difference between being controlled by one's editors, and being controlled by the government (I can't believe I actually have to type this). The editor works with the reporter in ferreting out the truth, keeping the reporter honest. The government has the exact opposite role.

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:44 PM EST
    Come on now, JB, admit it, you had to start laughing while you typed that pile of dung. Editors ferreting out truth, governments hiding truth.........I cant even repeat it without laughing.

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#6)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:44 PM EST
    After all this ruckus about the military purchasing articles in the Iraqi press in an attempt to control the press, I would have assumed that control of the press is exactly what you lefties are fighting against.
    Uh... the WaPo is run by the government? Well, that's news to me. How else can you conflate clumsy government propaganda with a newspaper telling a complete sellout whore like Woodward to write the truth now and then? Should editors not exist? Please explain this "hypocrisy" a little because it seems like the usual PPJ-style stre-e-e-e-e-e-tching to turn every single post into a blanket condemnation of "the left".

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#7)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:44 PM EST
    I mean, really. The press has a right to control itself. The government has no right to control the press. Variable can't possibly be this stupid, can he? OK, don't answer that.

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:46 PM EST
    What exactly didn't you understand, Scar. Attempting to control the press is a bad thing, and all the libs are bashing the govt for doing it, but now your sitting around scratching your heads trying to figure out a way to "control" Woodward. Thats being a hipocrite. Thats being a textbook hipocrite. Acting like Woodward's editor is trying to ferret out truth, instead of what he is really doing, which is trying make Woodward say what he wants said, is being a hypocrite. You can claim Woodward's lying all you want, but that's plain stupid, because with all the left leaning media hatred of him, if he was not able to factually support his stories he would be cooking french fries at McDonald's with Jason Blair quicker than you could say Scarshapeddumbass. As far as editors go........you can call them editors, I call them minders. They're job used to be to edit and check facts. Now in this day and age, where the left is in the irrelevant minority, all they do is make sure that all stories going to print today look just like the bushbashing stories of yesterday. If you don't believe that, when you go to work tomorrow try to get 10 of your co-workers to agree with something, anything thats slightly controversial. See how much success you have. Then come back here and tell me that you believe that 90% of all American reporters are in agreement on everything, and surprise, surprise its all bad news for the current administration. Explain to me why we have the lowest average unemployment rate since the sixties, and yet no reporters are writing about it. I guess thats just uninteresting to all of them? Then explain how it will simultaneously and mysteriously get intersting to all the reporters again if the numbers go up to 9%. Then again Scar, maybe you might just want to stick to name calling, because attempting to prove that the elephant of left-leaning media bias isn't really sitting in front of all of us, is clearly beyond you.

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:46 PM EST
    At 7:58 pm, Variable posted: " . . . quicker than you could say Scarshapeddumbass." followed later by: "Then again Scar, maybe you might just want to stick to name calling" No further comment here, other than a request to be sure to turn off the projector when this movie's finished.

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:46 PM EST
    scarshapedstar, please make your points without personal insults to other commenters. You know the rules.

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#11)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:46 PM EST
    Hmm, okay. But I still think he's being deliberately dense. Way too dense. And all the stuff about hypocritical lefties... ugh.
    Attempting to control the press is a bad thing, and all the libs are bashing the govt for doing it, but now your sitting around scratching your heads trying to figure out a way to "control" Woodward. Thats being a hipocrite. Thats being a textbook hipocrite.
    Really? Attempting to control the press is a bad thing? If my newspaper writes an article full of lies and I write them an angry letter trying to get them to retract it, according to you, that's a bad thing. Wow. You are an autocrat's dream come true.

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#12)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:46 PM EST
    By the way, in case you've forgotten, our government has given itself carte blanche to whisk away any of its citizens to third-world dictatorships to be tortured indefinitely without due process. Since they evidently own all of our bodies now, I'd prefer if they didn't try to take away our minds as well. And yes, Virginia, that means that I should have more control over the press than they do. But hey, you're free to believe the opposite.

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:47 PM EST
    Apparently I really ruffled your feathers Scar, now you cant even tell when someone is being facetious. Clearly there is a huge distinction between demanding factual truth from news media, and demanding unbiased reporting from the news media. As far as I am aware nobody has even claimed that the "planted" news stories were factually untrue, so your first argument as it relates to this thread is mute. Secondly, your omission in addressing the later perfectly valid point shows exactly how little credibility and intellectual honesty you possess. As for this non-sense about abductions, hidden prisons and torture....no I didn't forget about that, because I never knew about it in the first place, and neither do you. Once again your just operating on half truths and biased innuendo. Our government has every right to prosecute this war with victory in mind. That means taking as many bad guys out of action as possible. As far as how they do that, kill, kidnap, imprison, whatever, I don't care. I don't want them to inform me or you first. After all my security is at stake and I pay my taxes so that they will handle it and I trust them to do so. But at the same time, if you have factual information of the US breaking international treaties which govern the handling enemy combatants..........I'm all ears. But until then all your doing is proving you hipocrisy to everyone within the sound of your voice.

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#14)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:47 PM EST
    As far as I am aware nobody has even claimed that the "planted" news stories were factually untrue
    Talk about cranial-rectal inversion. First off, as a general principle, true stories write themselves, Weekly World excluded. If you have to pay someone to write a particular story, it's usually called fiction. Secondly, your opinion doesn't matter and neither does mine. What matters is the opinion of the average Iraqi. Having lived under an actual dictator for some time, their opinion of government propaganda is pretty dismal; I don't think anyone seriously contests that. Now that we've established the facts, can you imagine any more outrageously counterproductive endeavour we could embark on than filling the Iraqi media with blatant propaganda? I sure hope not, Bush might start doing it. As for your insistence that no law has ever been broken... uh... I direct you to the TL post directly preceding this one. U.S. Admitted Blunder in Kidnapping el-Masri. That and Abu Ghraib... good lord. Nothing like reopening the propaganda mills and the same dungeons to really win over those hearts and minds. Oh, and, by the way:
    Once again your just operating on half truths and biased innuendo. Our government has every right to prosecute this war with victory in mind. That means taking as many bad guys out of action as possible. Irony is dead. Tell you what, let's talk again in five years. I'll love hearing how it's my fault that even though we took out so many bad guys, somehow the Iraqis just didn't like our torture/propaganda brand of "freedom". I'm sure you'll wonder what went wrong. After all, our victory was 100% flawless.

    Re: The Economics of Being Bob Woodward (none / 0) (#15)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:47 PM EST