This goes rather too far for me (it depends on the author!) but I do think the value-added from good reported political books is more often about added detail, depth, context, and an eye toward posterity rather than scoops
I have no idea what the "scoops" were in Woodward's "Obama's Wars" at this point but I referred back to it recently because it's a detailed, meeting-by-meeting reconstruction of the policy process that simply couldn't be done in ordinary reporting…
But I do tend to be more skeptical of the headline-grabbing, big scoops that get spotlighted to sell the books.

George Tenet had a strong case that "Plan of Attack" exaggerated the significance of the "slam dunk" comment in convincing Bush to go to war…
I also had some questions about the public presentation of Trump's Covid comments to Woodward — that they prove "he knew the truth."

A fuller look at his comments shows Trump was saying a lot of contradictory and semi-coherent things to Woodward, like he was saying in public.
Bill Casey's alleged deathbed confession was before my time so I don't have a strong view of what happened there but including it for completion:…
And of course all these books have to be viewed with skepticism about sourcing, and especially the heroic self-presentation of the sources that tends to be included.
I don't yet have the book but I am certainly curious whether all this context is included, which makes the reality seem somewhat different from the summaries we've gotten so far:…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Andrew Prokop

Andrew Prokop Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @awprokop

16 Sep
Durham's indictment of Dem lawyer Michael Sussmann is a "speaking indictment." Is written with much detail to advance narrative that Trump was victim of foul play re: the "secret Russian server" story…
Durham’s belief, expressed in this indictment, is basically that Clinton supporters drummed up a thin/bogus Trump Russia tie, fed it to the FBI to get Trump under investigation, then had it leaked to the press to hurt Trump’s campaign. ImageImageImage
But Durham does not say any of that is criminal.

The crime he alleges is a false statement made by one person involved, attorney Michael Sussmann, during a meeting with the FBI.

Alleges Sussman said he was not acting on a client's behalf, but that he really was. Image
Read 6 tweets
15 Sep
Newsom framing the race as himself vs. Elder was in part strategy, but it was also simple reality.

Republican voters flocked to Elder and made him and not, say Faulconer the preferred candidate. Elder really would have won if Newsom got booted.…
That is: Republican voters chose to elevate a bombastic, polarizing candidate and hope he could squeak through the weird recall process, rather than someone who could have plausibly been actually popular in a blue state
And the takeaway is apparently that Elder is the frontrunner to be the GOP's candidate again next year... except in a head-to-head matchup with Newsom that he's far *less* likely to win.

So yes, not a great development for the GOP in CA

Read 4 tweets
14 Sep
Unpopular take on here but IMO:
-Books are a legitimate medium for reporting
-Reporting and writing them takes time.
-Timing of book release should be up to author and publisher.
I'd say if a reporter unearths information someone set to be executed is innocent, it would be pretty shitty to wait till after they're executed to publish.

When you get to politics, the question of what impact the new information would make gets hazier

Also there seems to be an assumption that Woodward/Costa learned the Milley stuff when Trump was still in office.

Not impossible, but Jan 6-20 is a really short window.

Before the Feb 13 impeachment acquittal? Dunno. But if after that, I don't see impact of quicker publication
Read 4 tweets
23 Aug
Gavin Newsom needs to win a majority vote to stay in office.

If he doesn't get that, somebody else can win the governorship with a small plurality.

Weird design!…
Newsom couldn't put his name up as a replacement candidate.

So his team is urging Dem voters to leave the replacement question blank.

But if Newsom loses the recall vote, and Ds have abstained from replacement vote, easier for a conservative R to win…
Urging Dem voters to abstain from the replacement question is self-interested strategy (Newsom wants to frame the choice as between him and a Republican).

But the replacement vote only matters *if* Newsom loses the recall vote. Picking a replacement candidate doesn't hurt Newsom
Read 7 tweets
23 Aug
IMO there are, or will be, substantive stakes here.

The centrists want to increase their leverage in shaping the reconciliation bill. They want to be able to credibly threaten to kill the bill if their demands aren't met. (cont'd)
Right now, centrists' threat to kill the reconciliation bill isn't the most credible, bc that would mean sinking Biden's whole agenda.

Indeed, that was the point of the Pelosi/progressive strategy. Holding the centrists' beloved bipartisan deal hostage to force their hands
Freeing the hostage means that the centrists have more leverage to make threats and force big changes on reconciliation. And considering all the things Dems hope to do in reconciliation, that could mean very real policy consequences…
Read 4 tweets
10 Aug
Senate's imminent passage of infrastructure bill seems to defy many of liberals' heuristics about "how things work" (that all negotiations from Republicans are insincere ploys, that polarization makes bipartisan achievements impossible, that personal relationships don't matter)
FWIW my take a few months back was that:
1. Certain issues (voting rights, immigration) are so polarized that compromise really is impossible
2. On other issues, bipartisanship can be achievable, though it might involve compromises progressives don't love…
But many people insisted for months that this was obviously doomed and anyone who thought otherwise was a fool. When there's a surprising outcome, good to take note and update your mental model of the world, at least a bit.
Read 4 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!