“This is deadly stuff,” the president told Woodward in a Feb. 7 conversation, according to the book, which is called Rage. “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.” – NPR, September 9th, 2020
The legendary Washington Post reporter, who won fame in 1974 when he and fellow Post reporter Carl Bernstein exposed the lies behind Nixon’s cover-up of the Watergate burglary, knew that Donald Trump was misleading the American people when he repeatedly played down the threat posed by the Covid-19 virus.
Woodward knew on February 7th, very early on in the pandemic, that Trump’s real assessment of the threat was that it was deadly – five per cent of those infected could be killed by the airborne infection, according to Trump – and that when he assured the American people otherwise, he was lying.
The question raised by this episode is this: should Woodward have immediately made this information public when its dissemination could have forced Trump to make a U-turn and as a consequence thousands of lives could have been saved?
Or did he stay silent and keep the story for his book, timed to coincide with the run up to the presidential election, knowing that he would make more money and a bigger impact if he withheld this scoop?