A Democratic congressman contradicted both Brian Stelter and The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, flatly stating that Woodward misreported an incident involving the congressman in his controversial new book, “Peril.”
The revelation came after Stelter invited Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) to share a story found in the book on Sunday’s episode of “Reliable Sources.” In “Peril,” Woodward relates that Congressman Smith found himself on a plane ride with several people who had attended the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6.
“I’m imagining you slinking down in your seat just hoping that none of these rioters recognize you,” Stelter enthused, seeming to revel in the imagined danger. “Is that what happened?”
“Well, no,” Congressman Smith replied. “I did not fear them in any way.”
Seemingly taken aback, Stelter read the relevant passage out of the book: “Ugly talk about conspiracies to steal the election filled the plane. So did chatter about QAnon,” and “Several passengers also mentioned 6MWE,” a reference to Holocaust victims.
After reading the passage word-for-word, Stelter asked, “Is that accurate?”
“No. And that’s one of the unfortunate aspects of this,” Rep. Smith answered. “The people on the plane didn’t say anything racist or anti-Semitic. … I did not hear anything from the people on the plane about racism or anti-Semitism.”
“Oh,” Stelter said several times, his body shrugging.
Rep. Smith said the xenophobic language came from things he “saw and heard on January 6th at the Capitol and in the couple of days leading up to it.” But “when I spoke to Mr. Woodward, we spoke about what I heard on the plane” and what happened at the Capitol.
“I think Mr. Woodward conflated the two,” Rep. Smith said.
Stelter said the congressman’s version of events seemed “curious,” as he pulled out a physical copy of Woodward’s book and began to read aloud. “I just pulled it back up in the book, page 261,” he said. “‘I just had the most unbelievable, unsettling experience,’ Smith said in a phone call on January 8th to Chairman Milley,” Stelter read verbatim.
He seemed crestfallen that the events did not occur as he imagined, based on Woodward’s alleged misreporting. “As the reader, you’re thinking, wow, you know, you’re in on this phone call,” Stelter said. He verified with Smith that “you told Woodward about your phone call and you’re saying a little bit of it was conflated.”
“Yeah,” Smith said.
Stelter apparently made little progress in holding Woodward accountable by Monday, when he wrote, “A spokesperson for Woodward did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) September 20, 2021
“Peril” has catapulted into the national conversation because it contains one of the most explosive stories of this month — allegations that General Mark Milley attempted to undermine outgoing President Donald Trump within his own administration and by contacting members of the Chinese military.
According to Woodward, Milley so feared that President Trump would start a war with China that he reportedly called his counterpart in the People’s Liberation Army, General Li Zuocheng, twice, going so far as to promise the Chinese Communist general, “If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”
Woodward also said that Milley gathered everyone involved in the nuclear launch process and made them review the process for a nuclear first strike, telling them not to act unless he was involved — although the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is not part of the chain of command for a nuclear launch. “Looking each in the eye, Milley asked the officers to affirm that they had understood, the authors write, in what he considered an ‘oath,’” The Washington Post reported.
Milley has admitted making the phone calls and reviewing nuclear “protocol,” but denies any wrongdoing. He will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 28.
But doubts and controversies have surrounded Bob Woodward’s reporting for decades, including his claim that former CIA Director William Casey admitted he knew about the Iran-Contra Affair on his deathbed. (Relatives say Woodward was not present at Casey’s deathbed, and guards were posted at the door.) Another former CIA director, George Tenet, said that Woodward wrenched a statement about a “slam dunk case” regarding Iraq out of context; it was not about the strength of the intelligence about whether Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, but instead, Tenet had said it would be a “slam dunk” to make a public case to invade Iraq.
Woodward also claimed President Ronald Reagan had a slow and difficult recovery after his attempted assassination in 1981; Reagan’s former doctor disputes the allegation.
Even Woodward’s former editor at The Washington Post, Ben Bradlee, had doubts that Woodward accurately reported a few minor details of the Watergate story.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.