North Texas Daily

Woodward’s silence makes him as guilty as Trump

Woodward’s silence makes him as guilty as Trump

Woodward’s silence makes him as guilty as Trump
September 20
10:00 2020

As of the writing of this article, 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. Since the onset of the pandemic and it’s first American casualty on Feb. 28, President Trump has sworn up and down to the public that COVID-19 isn’t as dangerous as it is. Disturbingly, but unsurprisingly– he lied. Trump did know, and so did Bob Woodward. Since February.

In fact, for the past six months, the man who helped take down Richard Nixon held on to crucial information that could have possibly saved American lives. The President of the United States knew since the beginning of the pandemic that COVID-19 was devastating and he lied, and Woodward said nothing for months.

On Sept. 15, Woodward, the journalist famous for breaking the Watergate scandal, released his new book Rage, a sequel to his 2018 book Fear: Trump in the White House. In the lead up to the release of the book, it was revealed that Trump, knowingly downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic.

While Trump being a nebulous, narcissistic liar isn’t all that shocking, what was more shocking was Woodward had known this information since February.

The issue of journalists presenting newsworthy information in books isn’t new. Reporter Michael Smith dropped unreleased information about a Trump visit to a military hospital in the lead-up to his book, and John Bolton withheld information about Ukraine that was in his book during Trump’s impeachment trial.

But Woodward, waiting until September, showed more loyalty to his book than to the American public.

Woodward defended his actions, telling the Associated Press “he needed time to be sure that Trump’s private comments from February were accurate.”

However, it’s not clear about what parts of Trump’s comments on COVID-19 both privately and publicly, necessitated six months of fact-checking. If Woodward’s information could have saved just one life, then he was morally and ethically obligated to do so, and he didn’t.

To be clear, Woodward withholding this information was reckless but do not forget that the President of the United States actively and maliciously lied to the American people about the impact of COVID-19.

Would Woodward’s information in February have done anything? Four years of reporting from major publications in the US on Trump’s Administration has done no significant damage, so why would Woodward’s book?

Holding the information for the book may do more good, even if a bit unethical, but that’s cold comfort for the relatives of 200,000 American COVID victims.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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