The New York Times finally noticed what Washington has obsessed over the last few days -- the dust-up between veteran Washington Post investigative reporter Bob Woodward and the Obama White House over an email from a White House aide (apparently Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council) who emailedhis disagreement with Woodward's characterization that the White House had moved the goalposts regarding the sequester: "I think you will regret staking out that claim."
Woodward told CNN's Wolf Blitzer he considered that a veiled threat. Yet his fellow journalists at the Times (as opposed to "conservatives") have now followed most of the mainstream media in taking the side of the government.
In an exclusive interview with The Washington Post's Bob Woodward on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer belittled the veteran journalist for daring to reveal a contentious exchange with White House adviser Gene Sperling: "I'm a little surprised you've gone public with this. I mean, these kinds of high-energy, high-octane, high-emotion conversations and debates happen all the time between government officials and the people who cover them. You've felt the heat before. Why did you go public with this one?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
David Axelrod has written Gene Sperling off as a political lightweight lacking the tonnage to have intimidated Bob Woodward in their dust-up over the sequester.
Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Axelrod sarcastically asked "what is Gene Sperling going to do to Bob Woodward? Bob Woodward, who faced down H.R. Haldeman as a young man, feels intimidated by Gene Sperling?" You really have to hear the sneer in Axelrod's voice as he pronounces the name "Gene Sperling" to appreciate just how far under the bus Axelrod was willing to throw a fellow member of Team Obama. View the video after the jump.
Hold the presses! The far-left blog Daily Kos is insisting that liberal reporter Bob Woodard, in doing his job as a journalist, has gone “full Breitbart” with his coverage of sequestration. Just a few short years ago, the Kossacks loved when reporters "spoke truth to power" in confronting Republicans in the White House. But now that Woodward has gone on record saying that he received threatening emails from senior Obama administration officials, well, that's a far different story.
On the February 27 broadcast of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Woodward said:
The implied threat from the White House to Bob Woodward has thrown the liberal media for a loop. On Wednesday night, Politico published a fawning interview with Woodward. Writers Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei gushed over the "calm, instantly recognizable voice" of the journalist. On Wednesday, the Washington Post, which Woodward famously works for, mocked the Politico piece as nothing different than "fan fiction."
The Politico authors thrilled over being in the same room as Woodward. Allen and VandeHei's first paragraph raved, "Woodward [talked to] us in an hourlong interview yesterday around the Georgetown dining room table where so many generations of Washington’s powerful have spilled their secrets." A simple act of reading an e-mail became: "Digging into one of his famous folders, Woodward said the tirade was followed by a page-long email from the aide."
The Today show on Thursday allowed a scant 16 seconds, out of a possible four hours, to the claim by veteran journalist Bob Woodward that the Obama White House is trying to intimidate him and attack his coverage of the sequester cuts. The NBC program also avoided using the word "threat."
ABC's Good Morning America gave the most coverage to the battle, offering a full report and a news brief. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] CBS This Morning covered the story as part of a bigger report on the looming cuts. On Today, reporter Kristen Welker blandly explained, "As a backdrop to all of this, veteran reporter Bob Woodward is telling reporters that the White House is lashing out at him for writing an article which claimed that the sequester was all President Obama's idea." She then helpfully presented the President's case: "The White House has made the point that Republicans overwhelmingly supported the plan as well." This was the extent of Today's coverage.
How do you go from being a gutsy hero of the MSM to a wuss in one minute? Take on a Democrat president instead of a Republican. Using her most sarcastic scared-little-child voice, on today's Morning Joe Mika Brzezinski mocked Bob Woodward for saying the White House threatened him over his reporting on the sequester.
Mocked Mika: "is he really afraid of a little aide who said that to him? Really?" View the video after the jump.
The Morning Joe panel was tough today on the Obama White House for threatening Bob Woodward by telling him he would "regret" his reporting that it was the Obama administration that had devised the sequester, In the course of the opening segment, various panel members described the Obama White House response as "mickey mouse," "pathetic" and "childish."
But at the same time, a theme emerged that there was nothing unusual about a White House trying to intimidate reporters. Mark Halperin said "the Bush White House regularly would engage in the same kind of tactics." And Joe Scarborough and Andrea Mitchell shared stories of having been threatened by the Bush and Reagan White Houses, respectively. Andrea named names. Scarborough did not. H/t readers Ray R. and cobokat. View the video after the jump.
I presume everyone remembers how when the New York Times published information about a classified program designed to track the movement of alleged terrorist funding through the international banking system Bush administration officials threatened to prosecute Times reporters and management over what they had done? No you don't, because although some conservatives and Republicans thought it might be a worth considering it didn't happen. You can guarantee that if it had, it would have become a TV-radio-newspaper-Internet establishment press obsession for days on end.
Tonight, Washington Post's Bob Woodward alleged that because he is sticking to his guns in insisting that sequestration was the brainchild of the Obama White House, that it was personally approved by Obama, and that bringing up tax increases now to try to resolve the current sequestration impasse is "moving the goalposts," he has been threatened by "a very senior person" in the White House. Woodward said so on CNN's Situation Room earlier today. What's even more troubling is that Woodward told two Politico reporters the same thing yesterday, and that they appear to have sat on the revelation until this evening when the CNN interview forced their hand. Relevant portions of the CNN transcript and Politico column follow the jump.
The Washington Post's Bob Woodward continues to break ranks with his Obama-loving colleagues by holding the President's feet to the fire concerning the looming budget sequester.
Just days after he wrote a piece in the Post exposing the inconvenient truth that it was indeed the White House that initially proposed sequestration during the 2011 debt ceiling debate, Woodward appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday saying that Obama's decision to not send the USS Truman to the Persian Gulf as a result of these deliberations was "a kind of madness that I haven't seen in a long time" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Politico media reporter Mackenzie Weinger reports that there is new respect from media conservatives over Washington Post bigfoot Bob Woodward insisting there are facts about just who introduced the sequester -- the White House.
“Apparently Woodward doesn’t view his job as being a total lapdog for Obama,” Sean Hannity said on his radio show Monday.Hannity told his listeners that Woodward is “doing the job, frankly, that few journalists are willing to do, and that’s actually tell the truth and dig down a little deeper.” I told Weinger that Woodward loves being a Player, pushing presidents around:
Somewhere the ghost of George Orwell groans in recognition.
Remember during last year's campaign how President Obama harped on "millionaires and billionaires" not paying what they should in taxes? For the sake of fairness, Obama insisted, tax rates signed into law by George W. Bush a decade ago should increase on the wealthy while the remaining "98 percent" of taxpayers, those earning less than $250,000 annually, should not see their taxes go up. (audio clip after page break)