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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

FINEMAN'S FALLACY: Newsweek's Howard Fineman takes Bob Woodward to task for serving as "court stenographer" for the Bush administration. Fineman says Woodward should go back to being an outsider committed to "burning the beltway." This criticism (in addition to highlighting a little professional jealously on Fineman's part) reveals the extent to which the journalistic generation that cut its teeth on Watergate assumes that to be pervasively and choronically anti-establishment in one's reporting is the same thing as objectivity. No, I'm not saying the words and deeds of government officials should be taken at face value. And I can't say I admire Woodward for not disclosing his full role in Plamegate. But who does Howard Fineman (Newsweek's chief political correspondent) think he's fooling when he declares himself an "outsider"? Fineman is as much a journalistic insider as any reporter in Washington — and like most of the D.C. press corps, he has found it conveniently easy to be suspicious of the White House when its occupant became George W. Bush.