Friday, May 21, 2010

Memorable, But Horseshit.

Jack Shafer's got a great piece on W. Joseph Campbell's book Getting It Wrong, which appears to helpfully puncture a lot of mis-reported stories. One of the big persisent myths, notes Shafer, is that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein toppled a presidency:

Not even Bob Woodward thinks that. "To say that the press brought down Nixon, that's horseshit," Woodward told media scholar Mark Feldstein. Campbell surmises that it is the movie version of All the President's Men that has helped cement in our consciousness the Bob and Carl myth, quoting fellow debunker Jerry Lembcke approvingly: "America today remembers its history through visual imagery."

I'll go one further. Thanks to Alan Pakula's terrific adaptation, it's now a factoid that Deep Throat advised Woodward to "follow the money." Many very smart people believe this, including The New York Times editorial page, Bob Garfield (host of On the Media!) -- even The Washington Post!

It just ain't so. W. Mark Felt said no such thing.

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