Should Bob Woodward have revealed his damaging info about Trump months ago?

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Not to be the bitchiest Cassandra on the block, but I knew this would happen as soon as we heard about Bob Woodward’s new book, Rage. I knew it would happen because it always happens – it’s the easiest thing to predict in any media/political conversation about Bob Woodward: how could Bob Woodward sit on damaging information for so many months? In this particular case, Woodward sat on information which literally could have saved lives. Donald Trump clearly knew the danger of coronavirus and he consciously downplayed it and lied about the danger constantly. And now 191,000 Americans are dead. Would it have made a difference if Woodward had come out in March and said “actually, Trump is lying to the public and I have the tapes to prove it”? We’ll never know.

Bob Woodward, facing widespread criticism for only now revealing President Donald Trump’s early concerns about the severity of the coronavirus, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he needed time to be sure that Trump’s private comments from February were accurate.

In Woodward’s upcoming book on Trump, “Rage,” the president is quoted saying the virus was highly contagious and “deadly stuff” at a time he was publicly dismissing it as no worse than the flu. Woodward, the celebrated Washington Post journalist and best-selling author, spoke with Trump more than a dozen times for his book.

Woodward’s book, which comes out next week, draws from 18 conversations with Trump between December and July. During his AP interview, Woodward said Trump called him “out of the blue” in early February to “unburden himself” about the virus, which then had few cases in the U.S. But Woodward said that only in May was he satisfied that Trump’s comments were based on reliable information and that by then the virus had spread nationwide.

“If I had done the story at that time about what he knew in February, that’s not telling us anything we didn’t know,” Woodward said. At that point, he said, the issue was no longer one of public health but of politics. His priority became getting the story out before the election in November.

“That was the demarcation line for me,” he said. “Had I decided that my book was coming out on Christmas, the end of this year, that would have been unthinkable.”

Asked why he didn’t share Trump’s February remarks for a fellow Post reporter to pursue, Woodward said he had developed “some pretty important sources” on his own.

“Could I have brought others in? Could they have done things I couldn’t do?” he asked. “I was on the trail, and I was (still) on the trail when it (the virus) exploded.”

[From AP News]

I’m not going to defend Woodward, mostly because I think there were other options for him which would have been ethically and journalistically correct which would have had him revealing the taped conversations in April or May. But, again, this happens EVERY TIME Woodward has a book coming out. He’s always held onto valuable, timely and sometimes criminal knowledge and information for months and there’s always a conversation about whether or not that’s ethical. Frankly, he’s just doing it at this point for his book sales.

Also: if we focus so much on “why didn’t Woodward reveal this sooner,” we miss the larger conversation about how all of these ancient Republican a–holes were actively covering their asses and bitching and moaning constantly to Woodward. Donald Trump is one of those a–holes. He spoke to Woodward 18 times and apparently Lindsey Graham (Lady G herself) was the one who suggested it. Tucker Carlson spent some time attacking Lady G on his show. This is the Republican message at this point: of course Donald Trump lies constantly, but how dare anyone allow Trump to tell the truth to a journalist!

— gregarious (@mistergeezy) September 10, 2020

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