It's even worse than it appears.
Friday September 11, 2020; 9:53 AM EDT
  • We're still debating whether Woodward should have said anything when he had the president on the record about the real threat of the virus. #
  • Last night Jay Rosen weighed in. #
    • I am unconvinced by the criticisms of Woodward, and by the claim that he could have saved lives but chose not to. I also think we are failing to credit him for putting the fullest story he felt he could tell before voters during election season, when it would count the most.#
  • I hear this from other people, so my response is well-rehearsed. #
    • It would have made a difference. Hearing the president say in his own words, in a tone of respect the public never hears from him, was eye opening. In February or March it would have been transformative. No doubt it would have saved many lives. #
    • We've learned a lot about the ethics of medical trials lately. If they're testing a drug and discover it saves lives without harmful side-effects, they're obligated to stop the test and give everyone the drug. No more control group. No more placebos.#
    • Similarly, a programmer who waited months to report a security flaw would have a lot of explaining to do. #
    • An attorney general who is aware that an officer of the government is compromised by a foreign adversary is obliged to report it. #
    • Woodward's excuse that he didn't know if it was true is lame on lame. It was true that the president said it. And it was clearly a contradiction of what he was saying publicly both in substance and tone. That's enough to get it on the record, and let the public decide how it wants to proceed. #
    • If you’re writing a book, hoping for a blockbuster, and accidentally uncover information that can save lives you are imho similarly obligated. The book isn’t more important than the lives the information can save. I remain unconvinced myself that there is any justification for holding on to the information.#
    • This is about our humanity. The people who died had families, people who were devastated by their death. They had painful deaths. And for crying out loud -- they died! What higher cost is there. The deaths continue. #
    • In March we weren't yet polarized on this subject. Hearing the president's respectful voice could have kept it from being political, for at least some people, and thus saved some of their lives. #
    • What higher calling is there for a journalist, even for the legendary Woodward, who every journalist cites as the example they hope to live up to, than saving lives. #
    • The president for some reason wanted to impress Woodward. That was some rare good luck for the American people, at the beginning of a very dark year, and a member of the Church of the Savvy, maybe the High Priest of Savvy, decided we couldn't benefit from it. I don't think there's any question he did something wrong. I think he's as wrong as Trump himself. #
    • Finally, water under the bridge you might say. But I want to know what other vital information reporters are sitting on, for whatever reason, and who has to pay with their life for their vanity. By giving Woodward, the role model, a pass, you excuse more Savvy reporting. And then who knows whose family will be hurt. #

© 1994-2020 Dave Winer.

Last update: Sunday September 13, 2020; 4:05 PM EDT.

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