The unwonted hailstorm of criticism Bob Woodward is receiving from his colleagues in the MSM is fascinating.  Woodward, like forced-out New York Times reporter, Judy Miller, wandered off the liberal reservation. You just can’t let this happen…

Sure, Woodward has an unbelievably cushy deal with the Washington Post. Sure, he’s arrogant and unappealing. And, yes, he probably handled his inside knowledge of the Plame investigation incorrectly.

But none of this would bother Woodward’s MSM critics in the least if he were more overtly hostile to the Bush administration.

All you have to do is read Post media reporter Howard Kurtz’s piece (“The Man with the Inside Scoop”) in today’s paper to see what I mean. Here are a few snippets:   

“The harshest critiques have come from liberals who admired Woodward’s role in toppling Richard Nixon but detest his relationship with President Bush. ‘A reporter who once brought down one corrupt administration now finds himself protecting another,’ says a headline in Mother Jones magazine. …

“‘I do think that Bob’s politics have changed some over the years. He’s much more sympathetic to the establishment, especially the Republican establishment,’ [David] Gergen says. But after ‘30 years as a trailblazer,’ he adds, Woodward ‘doesn’t deserve’ the level of criticism directed at him….

“Some liberals, while crediting Woodward’s past work, suggest he has been co-opted.

“‘The administration plays along with this by giving him some juicy details in service of the larger effort to make Bush look like he walks on water,’ says Robert Kuttner, co-editor of the American Prospect. ‘Bob is the willing enabler of that, and it’s shameful. Bob has it both ways — he’s the court biographer and he keeps intact his reputation as an investigator.’

“Kuttner accuses Woodward of running ‘a protection racket — you sit still for an interview and you get treated generously. You don’t cooperate with Woodward and it’s going to be hell.'”
Harsh words-but you get the gist: Woodward is not mean enough to George “Hitler” Bush.

Miss Run Amok, as Judy Miller styled herself, was allowed to run amok for many years. She probably could have run amok for years to come. She could even have made reporting mistakes, as she apparently did, if they had been anti-Bush mistakes.

Woodward is of greater stature than Judy Miller, and he will not be forced out of the newspaper he helped put on the map. But, even legends have to stay on the reservation.