Bob Woodward scolds media colleagues for Trump Russia coverage, says American public was 'cheated'

Liberal journalist Bob Woodward turns on mainstream media for failing to properly vet the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, then gets sued by Trump.

Published: January 30, 2023 11:58am

Updated: January 31, 2023 12:52am

Several reports were released on Monday by the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) showing how media outlets were derelict in their duty while covering the Trump-Russia collusion story. The articles include some harsh quotes from famed Washington Post editor and reporter Bob Woodward, who criticized the mainstream media at large, calling for a self-assessment from the entire industry. 

In the first of a four-part series entitled, "The press versus the president," investigative reporter Jeff Gerth cites specific media outlets and how they worked in tandem with intelligence agencies, fellow publications, and dodgy sources including the now infamous Christopher Steele dossier to take down Donald Trump at all costs. 

Woodward, who rose to fame during the 1970s with the Watergate scandal and resignation of former President Richard Nixon, told Gerth the Russia probe "wasn't handled well." He even went so far as to accuse the mainstream press of having "cheated" the public out of the truth. 

Woodward urged modern newsrooms to "walk down the painful road of introspection," as they look back on their failures with the Russia-collusion stories. He also described Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on the matter as having no teeth but said it was good enough to serve as anti-Trump fodder for the media, just the same. 

Woodward told Gerth the Mueller report was a "fizzle" but journalists were "never going to declare [that] it's going to end up dry."

The former Washington Post reporter had previously appeared on Fox News Sunday in 2017, during the height of the Steele dossier drama, only to call it a "garbage document" that "never should have" been part of an official intelligence briefing.

He also later told CJR and Gerth that the Post wasn't interested in any of his critiques regarding the dossier, despite his senior status and wide berth of journalistic experience. 

After Woodward made those remarks on Fox News in 2017, he said he had "reached out to people who covered this" at the Post, identifying them only as "reporters." 

When asked how they replied, Woodward said: "To be honest, there was a lack of curiosity on the part of the people at the Post about what I had said, why I said this, and I accepted that and I didn't force it on anyone."

Trump had tweeted a "thank you" to Woodward at the time, for attempting to do his due diligence and even asked the media to "apologize." Yet the antagonism between the two continues to this day. 

This news comes after one of MSNBC's most widely read opinion writers, Zeeshan Aleem, said Friday that Russia's "influence operation on Twitter" to get Trump into the White House "was a dud," and only weeks after the Post itself admitted that any Russian meddling on social media did not contribute to Trump's victory in 2016, Fox News reported. 

This news also comes after Trump announced Monday that he is suing Woodward, claiming that the journalist and his publisher released recordings of interviews with the former president without his consent.

Trump is reportedly seeking $49 million from Woodward and publisher Simon & Schuster Inc., in connection with the release of recordings of 2019 and 2020 interviews, according to the Washington Examiner.

"This case centers on Mr. Woodward's systematic usurpation, manipulation, and exploitation of audio of President Trump," Trump's lawyers wrote.

Woodward released recordings of his 20 interviews with the 45th president in January of this year. 

You can follow Nick on Twitter @NGivasDC

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