Five years ago the press characterized him as a liar. But the Internet doesn’t forget. Here are the top 13 times, in their own words, the media slammed Bob Woodward as a liar.

Should We Trust the Rest of His Reporting?

Bob Woodward said a senior White House official threatened him. So the Obama administration released the emails in question. The actual evidence revealed Bob Woodward made up the threats. Here is what Chuck Todd said in response…

“The important question becomes this: If Woodward, who has generated best-seller after best-seller over many decades based heavily on anonymous sources, can’t accurately convey a conversation with an email trail, should we trust the anonymous sources in the rest of his reporting?”

— NBC’s Chuck Todd


Woodward Told More Than One Lie

“[Bob Woodward] told more than one lie; a whole fabric of deception arose…”

Richard Harwood on the book All the President’s Men



In a 1996 essay for the New York Review of Books, Joan Didion Wrote That…

measurable cerebral activity is virtually absent from Woodward’s post-Watergate books, which are notable mainly for “a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured.”


Joan Didion on Woodward’s books [linkarchive]

He’s Lying

Woodward claimed to have gotten a sensational deathbed confession out of Ronald Reagan‘s CIA director William Casey. John Cassidy exposes the details in a New Yorker story. People close to Casey, at the time, said he couldn’t even speak, much less jerk his head up. They said details of Woodward’s account, such as the positioning of Casey’s hospital bed, did not even remotely match Woodward’s description. Casey’s daughter said the encounter never happened. Kevin Shipp, who served in Casey’s security detail at the hospital, wrote in 2010 that there were security guards at Casey’s door 24/7, and nobody got past without their approval. Also, William Casey’s wife went on record and said the following…

‘he’s lying about that… That is untrue, it’s a lie… Woodward never got in to see my husband… This whole thing is a fabrication.’

Sofia Casey on the book Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987.

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It Made You Think Nixon Might Be Innocent

Woodward wrote a book about John Belusi. When the book Wired came out, many of Belushi’s friends and family denounced it as biased and riddled with factual errors…

Exploitative, pulp trash,” in the words of Dan Aykroyd. Wired was so wrong, Belushi’s manager said, “It made you think Nixon might be innocent”… He took a comment from a source, missed or misinterpreted the subtext of what was being said, and went on to characterize it in a way that bore no resemblance to reality.

– Tanner Colby on the book Wired.

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Dumb Blonde

“Bob Woodward, the Dumb Blonde of American Journalism… Instead of the truth, we get these shiny baubles of information”

Arianna Huffington on the books Bush at War and Plan of Attack.

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I think Bob Woodward Has a Little Bit of Explaining to Do

I think Bob Woodward has a little bit of explaining to do about that characterization.”

– Bret Baier quoted in Salon News

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He Needs to Sell That Book

Adrian Havill investigated some of the claims Woodward made in “All the President’s Men” for his book Deep Truths. He wrote that Woodward famously used a flower pot on his balcony to signal Deep Throat, but Havill found the apartment faced an interior courtyard, not the street, and thus it would have been virtually impossible for the source to surveil it. Havill also found that it was sunny on a day when Woodward and Bernstein said they had walked back in the rain after getting chewed out by the White House; that the porn movie “Deep Throat” was not playing in Washington on a day they said they saw it. Other reporters also have doubts about the so-called deep throat source. Ed Gray “demolishes forever the notion that Deep Throat was Mark Felt alone. Others have already made inroads on this subject, but the use of Woodward’s own typed notes makes the judgment final” in his book In Nixon’s Web. Salon reached out to Havill in regards to a recent controversy and he said…

 “Listen, Bob Woodward has a book to sell right now,” Havill told Salon. “He needs to maintain his relevancy… He needs to sell that book.”

– Adrian Havill quoted in Salon News

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A Liar

“Woodward has now been exposed as a liar

– Andrew Sullivan’s comments as reported by Politico

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“Author and columnist Max Holland reviewed the trove of notes Woodward use when authoring “All the Presidents” men and found “there are a number of inconsistencies between these notes and how the conversations are rendered in All the President’s Men”: “Phrases not enclosed in quotation marks in the notes are presented within quotes in the book, lending the impression that [“Deep Throat” aka former FBI associate director Mark Felt] spoke those exact words. Occasionally, the meaning of what he said is substantially altered. The book also contains information not present in the notes at all.” Quotes are misrepresented to alter their meaning, other quotes are invented out of thin air, and Woodward uses only his imagination to assign motive to his sources.” [link]

A long string of questionable journalistic episodes… exploiting the factual authority of journalism and the atmospheric license of fiction.”

Max Holland comments as reported by Newsweek


Is Not True

Woodward’s former editor at the Washington Post, Ben Bradlee privately doubted some of the more dramatic elements of Woodward’s Watergate-era bestseller, “All The President’s Men.” Bradlee and Woodward’s former assistant at the Post, Jeff Himmelman, revealed Bradlee’s nagging doubts in a 2012 biography of the longtime editor. Himmelman’s book also revealed that Woodward and Bernstein misled the public for decades about another Watergate source, known as source “Z.” Bradlee wasn’t the only editor that doubted Woodward. Post Watergate editor Barry Sussman also had doubts. He said,

“Some of their writing is not true,” Post Watergate editor Barry Sussman told Alan Pakula, director of the eponymous 1976 movie [all the presidents men]”

Barry Sussman’s comments as reported by Newsweek

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Clever Liar

“Washington Times editor Wesley Pruden calls Woodward a clever liar. New York Times reporter Hedrick Smith questions propriety and credibility of Woodward’s timing.”

– ABC Evening News for Sunday, Sep 27, 1987

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