Jeff Himmelman reports in his new book about Ben Bradlee — an excerpt runs in this week’s New York Magazine — that the legendary Washington Post executive editor once said that he had “fear in my soul” that Bob Woodward had embellished some details of his Watergate reporting. In 1990, Bradlee told Barbara Feinman, who was helping the editor with his memoir:
Did that potted [plant] incident ever happen? … and meeting in some garage. One meeting in the garage? Fifty meetings in the garage? I don’t know how many meetings in the garage … There’s a residual fear in my soul that that isn’t quite straight.
On Sunday night, Woodward told Politico’s Dylan Byers:
There’s a transcript of an interview that Himmelman did with Bradlee 18 months ago in which Ben undercuts the [New York magazine] piece. It’s amazing that it’s not in Jeff’s piece. It’s almost like the way Nixon’s tapings did him in, Jeff’s own interview with Bradlee does him in.
Woodward told Byers that he has an Oct. 7, 2010, interview transcript in which Bradlee mentioned to the author that he’s confident about Woodward’s Watergate reporting.
The Washington Post says in its story about the Himmelman book:
Although Woodward’s harshest critics spent years questioning whether he concocted the character of Deep Throat, Woodward’s reporting has been repeatedly confirmed over the past four decades, notably with the 2005 disclosure that his secret source was W. Mark Felt.
* The Red Flag in the Flowerpot (New York)
* Woodward rejects new Watergate claims (Politico)
* Book says Bradlee doubted some Woodward details (Washington Post)
* “Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee” (Amazon.com)
Editor Mary Polleys (credit: @mpolleys)
The Comment student newspaper at Bridgewater State University published a story earlier this month that named a rape victim who spoke to about 200 people at a “Take Back the Night” rally. The woman gave her name to the crowd, but still there are people on campus say the paper shouldn’t have identified her and should remove its story from the Comment’s site.
Editor Mary Polleys says university president Dana Mohler-Faria told her that it was “unconscionable” that she wouldn’t scrub the article, and claims he threatened to close the paper. “There’s no question he was trying to intimidate us.” (A university spokesman denies that and tells the Boston Globe: “The paper has the right to print what it wants. But when there are questions of the validity of facts and when there are questions of the rights to privacy, that deserves a conversation.”
The paper stated its position in an editorial this week:
The Comment doesn’t publish the names of sex crime victims without their consent. But there is implied consent when someone speaks in a public forum, and, as many of the letter writers point out, the whole meaning of the rally was to encourage victims of sexual assault to speak up and not live in shame. Any information included in the article that Sullivan did not share at the rally was easily found by searching her name and looking at her publicly-accessible social media profiles. This isn’t an invasion of privacy. It’s simple fact checking and good journalism.
* Paper’s naming of rape victim leads to dispute at university (Boston Globe)
* Rape victim says Comment story went too far (The Enterprise)
* Rape victim takes back the night (The Comment)
* Editorial: Break the silence (The Comment)
* Free speech advocate backs The Comment (The Comment)
* Letter #1 Scroll down to read letters about the controversy (The Comment)
Photo: Ali Colwell
I was one of several people interviewed by Michelle Chan for her piece on college newspapers’ April Fools’ Day issues. My advice: “Leave the funny stuff to The Onion.” My former Poynter colleague, Roy Peter Clark, tells her:
April Fools’ Day is one of the stupidest fake holidays ever created, and I’ve never seen an April Fools’ Day issue of anything that was any good. Even in the best of hands, the satire turns out to be pretty lame. And in the worst hands, we get these totally unnecessary scandals like the ones we’ve seen.
* A Fool’s Errand? AJR on April 1 fiascoes
* Maneater’s top editors resign over Carpeteater April Fools’ issue
* Boston University editor resigns over April Fools’ edition
Letters to Romenesko
From JONATHAN SANDERS: What do you think? Are these 911 calls [about tornadoes in Alabama] “an important part of the historical record”?
I’d say they’re as important as the 911 calls you hear almost daily on TV newscasts’ crime/fire reports.
From ED BATTLE: My candidate for most diplomatic “Headline of the Day”:
“Thinking Can Undermine Religious Faith, Study Finds”
From EMILY KULKUS, Syracuse Post-Standard: Any idea why it seems everyone is using Wednesday May 2 as the one-year anniversary of bin Laden’s death? (His Wikipedia page lists it, too.) I noticed the discrepancy because I worked our night desk the night Obama announced he was killed. It was a Sunday, May 1. The president announced he was dead that night, and all the papers the next morning screamed that headline, not that he’d been captured and killed the next day. What’s up?
It was the 2nd in Pakistan, as Kulkus notes in a follow-up to this email.
Look out! Hamilton Nolan’s all worked up again!
The Gawker media writer is up in arms over this weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner — “a shameful display of whoredom that makes the ‘average American’ vomit in disgust, or, more likely, simply continue to disregard the findings of any ostensibly neutral journalistic outlet in favor of their own ideology of choice, because they have a fully solidified belief that the ‘mainstream media’ is little more than a bunch of ball-lapping lapdogs to whoever’s in power.”
Every year I ponder whether it’s possible to go to the Whore Dinner to cover it without being Part of the Problem, and I every year I decide that it is not. (Credit the New York Times and other news organizations who have come to the same conclusion.) And every year I and other humorless moralists write these somber diatribes about this event, and nothing ever changes, nor will it, because the media members themselves don’t give a fuck, because they like to meet celebrities, and the public doesn’t give a fuck because they already know the stars of the “mainstream media” are a bunch of patsy starfuckers who have to carefully consider how awkward next year’s Dinner might be every time they’re formulating uncomfortable questions for a politician, so who cares?
* “Fuck the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner”
* WaPo has more names of celebs who will be at tomorrow’s dinner
* Van Susteren’s bringing Lohan to the dinner, but objects to Louie C.K.?
* C-SPAN coverage of the dinner
I have to say that In which tweets are growing on me the way that “Friends” titles (“The One Where/With…”) did.
Dean finalists at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism are Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and U.S. Department of Justice deputy counselor Deborah Leff. Both candidates spoke on campus this week.
From The Diamondback’s story on Dalglish’s visit:
While she has not spent as much time immersing herself in academia, Dalglish said her background as an authority on media law and a First Amendment public speaker would help her advance the journalism school.
“I think this could be a gathering place where some of the world’s finest journalists come,” she said. “I think there are ways to take advantage of this fabulous facility and bring more of those journalists in and interact with students, supplement the curriculum and even network with each other.”
From the story about Leff’s visit:
Although her last job in journalism was in 1992, Leff said she is still confident in her ability to address today’s changing world. …
Leff told attendees she hoped to expand internship and partnership opportunities that would benefit students interested in science and law journalism.
“My long-term goal is amazingly vague and general,” Leff said. “I want to make this school the best it can be and see us integrated and contributing to the assessment and collection of knowledge.”
* Second journalism dean candidate Lucy Dalglish speaks
* Journalism college hosts first dean candidate
* Merrill dean Kevin Klose to step down June 30