News & Publishing, Politics & Public Policy

Thank you, Jason Rezaian

Will you read Jason Rezaian’s new book, Prisoner?

I really enjoyed this presentation — the chat with Ignatius, but also the beautifully produced documentary that introduced the Q&A. It is a must-watch if you’re at all interested in journalism, yes, but also diplomacy, negotiation, culture, international chess play.

The graphic showing all the moving parts of a three-hour window of opportunity perfectly illustrates a diplomatic nail biter.

To see again the photo of Jason kissing the tarmac, free after 544 of “detention,” is like a gut punch we all need — a reminder of how special our nation is, and how precious and fundamentally critical the First Amendment is. It’s both law and moral guidepost.

Watching the backstory told in the intro, you’ll see the remarkable cooperation between State and 4th Estate. It’s not just an example of logistical coordination; it demonstrated a resolve at the highest Office that our nation wouldn’t “leave one of its own behind.” The Administration and State Department fought for its son, while also waging a cultural (internationally watched) battle against the oppression of free speech in Iran.

This is in stark contrast to the current Administration’s reaction to and abject dismissal of Saudi Arabia’s assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Anyway, check it out.

 

News & Publishing

The Journalist and the President: I’ve Called with Bad News

I just listened to the phone call between Bob Woodward and President Donald J. Trump.
A few takeaways:
Woodward cites meeting with WH personnel outside of their offices, on the low down. He has tapes of those conversations (though protects source identities). This is the most whistle-blowy staff I’ve ever seen.
How quickly the President throws his team (including K. Conway, and Raj Shah) under the bus — in real time — and then how effortlessly she passes blame to official WH comms team. Also: Conway had lunch with Woodward to discuss book! Who would sign off on that?
Final thought. Woodward’s not perfect. He can sometimes err on the side of doubt-benefit when intention is otherwise obvious. But he’s pretty close to textbook on sourcing and supporting documentation. My guess is that the book’s narrative will feel like a tabloid read, because it’s a tabloid Presidency.
Here’s the audio, thanks to the Washington Post:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/04/transcript-phone-call-between-president-trump-journalist-bob-woodward/?utm_term=.865bfb1b0cef