Woodward's Debt to Deep Throat

After the big stories, sometimes more than credit is due, sources say

I can understand why Simon & Schuster would want to control the promotional campaign at this stage. On major books, every publisher's goal is to keep public interest high and also keep the major TV interview shows salivating.

Woodward has until now been talking about Deep Throat at public appearances. He has mentioned, for example, that "he [Felt] has dementia." But what does this have to do with sharing profits on a book about events that happened long ago, before Felt's health ebbed?

In the Vanity Fair article by Felt's attorney, there is the following passage quoting Felt's daughter, Joan, a single mother, explaining what Woodward told her his concerns were:

"He's always been very gracious. We talked about doing a book with Dad, and I think he was considering. That was my understanding. He didn't say no at first. . . . Then he kept kind of putting me off on this book, saying, 'Joan, don't press me.' . . . For him the issue was competency: Was Dad competent to release him from the agreement the two of them made not to say anything until after Dad died?"

But a few days after Vanity Fair broke the Deep Throat story, Woodward wrote a roughly 5,000-word article for The Washington Post, tracing the history of his relationship with Felt. He made no mention of any book discussions with Felt or his family.

Woodward has always been unusually secretive about his reporting methods, which is his choice to make. I have come to believe, contrarily, that the more transparency about our journalistic processes and standards, the greater will be our credibility with the public.

Now that Mark Felt is no longer an anonymous source, more clarification would be a healthy thing.

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