Journalist Bob Woodward’s journalistic tactics were called into question a couple weeks ago over a dispute with the White House, and Tanner Colby has taken this as an opportunity to analyze Woodward’s reviled 1984 John Belushi biography Wired in a new piece for Slate. Wired being criticized for its inaccuracy is nothing new. The book has long been thought of as inaccurate and sensationalist, but the Slate piece is the most damning and clear evidence of this yet. Colby, who co-authored a different biography of the late comedian called Belushi: A Biography, writes of Wired, “It’s like someone wrote a biography of Michael Jordan in which all the stats and scores are correct, but you come away with the impression that Michael Jordan wasn’t very good at playing basketball.”
Colby co-authored Belushi: A Biography, the other book about the late comedian’s life, and he interviewed most of the same people Woodward talked to and many told him that Wired misappropriated their quotes. Colby has compiled a bunch of back-to-back quotes from Woodward’s book and his interviews with the same people, and the differences between the two are pretty alarming. Woodward’s focus on Belushi’s drug habit instead of his comedy has been the main thing Belushi’s peers and fans have taken issue with Word for, and Colby pulled these excerpts from the book’s index:
Belushi, John:as Blues Brother, 16, 22, 89, 139-42, 146-47, 161-62, 181-82, 186, 206, 334-35Belushi, John:cocaine habit of, 15, 17-33, 64-65, 76, 81, 93-94, 100, 103-05, 110, 128, 142-43, 145, 155-56, 159-60, 163-65, 170, 187-89, 193, 205-6, 218-19, 221, 243-44, 247-50, 262, 273, 297, 298, 301, 303, 306-8, 310-11, 316-53, 359, 361-65, 372-74, 385-89, 392-93, 395-400, 413-14, 422
Tanner Colby’s piece is well-worth the read. Wired has been considered inaccurate for decades, but Colby breaks down exactly why it’s inaccurate.