The Buck Stops Here: The Bush Administration at War. (Interview)

By Woodward, Bob | Harvard International Review, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview

The Buck Stops Here: The Bush Administration at War. (Interview)


Woodward, Bob, Harvard International Review


Bob Woodward is Associate Managing Editor for The Washington Post. As an investigative journalist for The Washington Post, Mr. Woodward earned a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the Watergate presidential scandal, and his coverage of the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks earned him the National Affairs Pulitzer Prize in 2002. Mr. Woodward has authored and co-authored numerous national bestsellers. His most recent book Bush At War earned critical acclaim as an in-depth look at US President George Bush's war on terrorism.

HARVARD INTERNATIONAL REVIEW:

The issue of media disclosure has become increasingly prominent since September 11, 2001. Do you think media coverage has changed in response to heightened concerns for national security?

Yes, it has had to adapt. Journalists have to be careful that they are not concealing information because it is merely embarrassing, rather than an actual or potential violation of national security. In Bush at War, I revealed that my sources think the relationship between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the military is an unbelievably complicated mess. It was embarrassing that US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice had to go to US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to say that the US operation in Afghanistan was transitioning from a covert one to a military one and that Rumsfeld had to take charge.

Do you think it is more or less difficult for the media to cover events than it has been in the past?

There is no general rule about whether or not it is easy or hard. I think there are two things that make it more difficult. The government, various institutions, and businesses have become very skilled at manipulating and restricting the flow of information. People have written extensively about how US President George Bush's administration is good at spinning information. You can get around that tactic by reporting and reporting, trying to get more information, getting a little bit of information, taking it to somebody else, and searching for more detail and explanation. Chronology is also important. I was able to get the notes of US National Security Council meetings to see exactly what people were saying and when. But in writing the book, I was not working under a deadline, With deadline pressure, it is very difficult. I guess the other component of that is that there is such pressure to tell people "the latest," but the problem is that the latest is often wrong or truly irrelevant. When I hear on my car r adio, "The Dow Jones Industrial Average has gone down one point," that is the latest news, but it is not important. This rush to provide the most immediate update means that people do not have the time or inclination to uncover serious political scandals. There is much more emphasis on the daily rush of the event rather than the digging.

Is investigative journalism more difficult with consolidated media networks attempting to provide sensational coverage?

Sensationalism definitely occurs. I do not know that much about it because at The Washington Past, we still have time to dig into things. However, at other media outlets, such as television news, radio, and the Internet, there is more pressure to provide minute-by-minute coverage rather than critical analysis. The question is the quality of the coverage, which is determined by the amount of time that reporters and editors spend getting to the bottom of something, going beyond the sound bites or quick updates. I sometimes find myself checking Internet news sources six times a day. I really do not need to, but it is curiosity driven. A lot of the impulses are pure curiosity rather than a desire to really understand.

Have President Bush's convictions increased his effectiveness as a leader?

I do not want to judge whether or not he is effective or ineffective. I only want to describe what has happened. He answered two and a half hours of my questions about why he acts the way he does and where he gets his convictions, Ineffective or effective, he is driven by what he describes as humanitarian concerns. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Buck Stops Here: The Bush Administration at War. (Interview)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.