Since the Watergate is and probably always be the height of Woodward's career, his undoubted inclination to always try to "top" himself has led to the continued effort to outdo himself. His megalomaniac desire for constant attention has quite often led to criticism.
In 1996 Joan Didion, writing for the New York Review of books, analyzed Woodward's methods.
She highlighted the "disinclination of Mr. Woodward to exert cognitive energy on what he is told."
More can be found about this in Greg Anrig's article "Woodward's Fatal Flaw".
Now, having the enviable position of being an author AND being able to tout your latest creation of half lies and distortions by virtue of working for a rag like the Washington Post,, which in and of itself is famous for publishing stories written with obvious bias, does wonders for the sales of a book. Which of course, is the point of writing one.
Market Watch from DowJones has an excellent article headed with "Woodward is whatever you want him to be"
"The title of the new volume alone is a tip-off that Woodward intends to kick up yet another dust storm of controversy about Bush and Iraq. And all over Washington, D.C., the Sunday morning talk-show hosts and their producers are salivating with the prospects of tearing Woodward -- or Bush -- limb from limb."
This kind of publicity is great for the sales of a book, isn't it?
The Whitehouse, of course, is challenging the veracity of the information in the book, as well it should. There is no denying that the "agenda" of any author is to sell books, that is a no brainer. As with his other books, the "spin" is calculated to create as much buzz as possible so the sales go up. His marketing skills have been done with genius. The "supposed" scoop of the NYT in publishing excerpts of the book, before the release date is transparent and brilliantly accomplished. More sales is the name of the game after all.
"Two earlier Woodward books, "Bush at War" and "Plan of Attack," were widely considered sympathetic to the White House. But Woodward's third book on Bush's conduct of the war on terror alleges that the president and his team deliberately mislead the public about the on-the-ground reality in Iraq."(Excerpt from Kevin Hall)
The fact that he can go from being sympathetic to the Whitehouse in one breath and unsympathetic to them in the next, underscores the fact that this "has been" hack will go where the sales are..... which again, is the point of any author. To sell books. To make money.
Let us not forget Woodward's role in the Plame scandal.
Woodward emerged as central figure in the leak of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson in November. For the better part of two years, Woodward had publicly discounted the importance of the Plame Wilson leak and had referred to Fitzgerald as a "junkyard dog" prosecutor in interviews during the course of the investigation. He then revealed in November that he had been told about Plame Wilson's CIA employment in June 2003 - before any other journalist.
News of his deposition sparked the latest round of debate about his status at the Post. One reporter described Woodward on an internal Post message board as the “800-pound elephant among us,” adding: “I admire the hell out of Bob, but this looks awful.
Perhaps Mr. Woodward should accept, once and for all, that Watergate is over and trying to recreate it, living in the past, isn't healthy for him, and does no good to the American public, who now has to sift through his lies, research for themselves to distinguish between his half truths in persuit of the absolute truth and try to make sense of how he can quote "one on one" conversations that he was not part of and claim they are an accurate account.
So before anyone takes Woodward's book as "gospel" they should look at the source and take his writings with a grain of salt, or the whole salt shaker in this case.
[UPDATE] More evidence to prove my point at Freedom's Zone