Bob Woodward's personal state of denial deepened last night during his appearance on Larry King Live.
How else to explain the total disconnect between the story he is reporting -- an administration that has repeatedly failed to tell the truth about a war in which, according to Woodward, "the stakes could not be higher" -- and his takeaway from that story.
After spending much of his hour-long appearance presenting examples of the administration's dishonesty about the war ("In this period of difficulty and darkness, we have not been getting the straight story unfortunately"), Woodward was asked if the revelations in his new book had caused him to reconsider what he wrote in his previous two books about Bush.
Woodward's reply? "No, because that's what happened." Even the usually unflappable King was taken aback, asking, "You don't change any opinions?"
"No," said Woodward, "I don't."
To which I say: Why the hell not?
Then came this stunning exchange:
King: One of our key staff members wants to know if you think we can trust George Bush.
Woodward: You know, that's a good, interesting question, but I don't address it...it's not my job.
Not his job? Amazing. He's put together a devastating catalogue of the president deceiving the American people -- what Woodward describes as "Let's pretend it's another way..." -- but he still isn't ready to say that George Bush can't be trusted?
In fact, he repeatedly let Bush off the hook, twice telling King the reason for the president's serial dishonesty about Iraq is his sunny outlook: "Bush is an optimist," he said. So the explanation for Bush b.s.-ing the American people is his optimism? And new facts are not allowed to change a journalist's opinion? And a long list of presidential mendacity and deception doesn't lead to the inevitable conclusion that the perpetrator can't be trusted?
Since when does being a journalist mean abandoning your ability to connect the dots?