Bob Woodward, Buckraker

woodward.jpg Ken Silverstein has done some breathtaking posts about Bob Woodward’s income from speaking to groups that have an interest in the issues Woodward writes about.

Woodward says there is nothing wrong with any of this, because he gave the money to charity.

Silverstein rightfully answers, So what?

It makes one wonder what Ben Bradlee thinks of all this. You’re corrupted if you take money from corporate groups, but not if you give the money to charity? Even if it’s your own personal charity, and you get a tax break, and most of the contributions go to elite causes of direct interest to the donor? This looks to be the same sort of double-dealing and hypocrisy that Bob Woodward–at least the old Bob Woodward–would have been all over as a reporter, if a political figure were involved.

If members of Congress and government officials have to fill out financial disclosure statements about where their income derives from, why not the same thing for journalists? If Woodward doesn’t want to disclose who is paying his speaking his fees, perhaps he should forgo speaking to those groups in the first place.

Update: Ken Silverstein has more. The Chronicle of Philanthropy advances the ball. And from the archives.

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