The famous author and Nixon exposer speaks out for the first time that he warned fellow journalists that the now infamous Steele Dossier was less than authentic
In a new release by the Columbia Journalism Review – a group I once worked for when I attended the University several decades ago – powerhouse Watergate journalist Bob Woodward admits that he tried to warn Washington Post reporters about the now thoroughly debunked “Steele dossier” when the RussiaGate coverage first took off — but they refused to listen to the caution, the report says.
Woodward was among several prominent journalists that were interviewed for a lengthy Columbia Journalism Review report published this week. The report dealt with the media’s handling of the unproven and largely fabricated allegations that circulated prior to the 2016 presidential election, which claimed that then-Republican candidate Donald Trump colluded with Russia to help him gain influence in the election.
For your convenience, here are links to each of the 4 parts of the groundbreaking CJR report:
In the interview, the 79-year-old reporter — famous for breaking the Nixon White House scandal for The Washington Post in the early ’70s — recalled how he was quick to slam the largely-discredited Trump dossier when it was first published in 2017.
Woodward dismissed the files, which have now been proven to have been funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and which were compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, declaring them “garbage documents” during a January 2017 Fox News appearance.
According to Woodward, he then reached out to unnamed Washington Post reporters to convey his concerns, but now claims they had no interest in his criticisms of the Steele Dossier, according to the CJR report.
“After his remarks on Fox, Woodward said he ‘reached out to people who covered this’ at the paper, identifying them only generically as ‘reporters,’ to explain why he was so critical,” reporter Jeff Gerth writes.
“Asked how they reacted, Woodward said: ‘To be honest, there was a lack of curiosity on the part of the people at the [Washington] Post about what I had said, why I said this, and I accepted that and I didn’t force it on anyone’.”
Elsewhere in the CJR report, Woodward also lashed out at the general media coverage surrounding RussiaGate, saying it “wasn’t handled well” and that he thought viewers and readers had been “cheated.”
“He urged newsrooms to ‘walk down the painful road of introspection’,” Gerth writes.
In 2021, the Washington Post took the unusual step of correcting and retracting large portions of two articles that relied on information included in the Trump-bashing dossier.
The outlet’s executive editor, Sally Buzbee, said at the time that the newspaper was unable to stand by the accuracy of their reporting regarding a source’s allegations, which were later contradicted.
Many of the details included in the dossier have since been found to be based on rumors and speculation.
Among them was the claim that Russia had a tape of Trump in a Moscow hotel room with prostitutes who were urinating on a bed where President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama had previously stayed.
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