Two young reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein brought down the Nixon Presidency in the mid-1970’s. Would they have pursued the Watergate story if it meant deposing a Democrat president? Probably not, but it was one of the top stories of the Twentieth Century and it caused President Nixon to resign. Reporters back in those days were not yet considered lackeys for the Democrat Party.
However, the legendary Woodward of the Washington Post dropped a bombshell on CNN. He stated that, “a very senior person” of the Obama administration sent an email, informing Woodward he would “regret” stressing the fact that Obama brought about the concept of sequestration and bore responsibility for its origination, and needed to stop redeploying defense resources to make political points. He also reported that the Obama aide “yelled at me for about half an hour”.
Woodward seems to be realizing the danger being posed to the First Amendment by having a compliant press as opposed to a free press.
“I’ve tangled with lots of these people,” Woodward said. “But suppose there’s a young reporter who’s only had a couple of years – or 10 years’ – experience and the White House is sending him an email saying, ‘You’re going to regret this.’ You know, tremble, tremble, tremble. I don’t think it’s the way to operate.”
There are some interesting dynamics at work in this ongoing story that concerns the demise of the First Amendment: why has Woodward suddenly awakened to Obama’s control of the press after four years? Can we expect other members of the journalistic community to have an epiphany like the Woodward of old; let’s be serious, this is the age of Obama, they have singled out the old reporter and attacked on cue like sharks with state-directed talking points. A story that portrays Obama in a negative manner is a non-story among today’s journalists or propagandists, but perhaps you can link to negative posts on Obama by the MSM.
Denouncing Woodward began with Politico, they downplayed the incident after acknowledging Woodward’s account as accurate, in their words, “play-by-play is spot on” concerning sequestration. However, Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei claimed, “White House officials are certainly within their rights to yell at any journalist, including Bob Woodward.” Is this yelling to be expected when the reporter doesn’t tow the party line? Allen and VandeHei complained that the battle with Woodward was:
“a major distraction at a pivotal moment for the president…Watching and now having interviewed Woodward, it is easy to see why the White House officials get worked up about him.”
They have essentially discredited Woodward as being an incompetent blowhard with innuendo, but insignificant in the enlightened Age of Obama. He is obviously a non-conformist and should be turned out to pasture for not participating in this game of pretend journalism.
The White House then came out with a directive in the form of Ben Smith. He announced that the email was from Gene Spurling, Director of the White House Council, and suddenly, the threat wasn’t really a threat. Woodward had made a mistake typical of rookies, misinterpreting a tip for a threat:
Officials often threaten reporters that they will ‘regret’ printing something that is untrue, but Woodward took the remark as a threat.”
It seems, the perceived threat has been relegated to overreaction during a senior moment, according to White House lackeys, Woodward deserves pity rater than scorn.
That meme was picked up by the White House’s favorite palace guards, including Dave Weigel at Slate (he retweeted Smith, tweeted, “Theory: Woodward is trolling,” then added via retweet that the whole situation was “boring”); BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, who mockingly tweeted, “Every reporter who deals with flacks/campaign advisors/politicos/ on a daily basis finds that less than threatening”; Justin Green, who edits David Frum’s blog at The Daily Beast, tweeted, “I rarely rarely report, and I’ve had flacks say worse. Not that rare”; Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic tweeted, “As a reporter, I don’t think this was a threat”; Dylan Byers of Politico tweeted, “tweets, I’m no Woodward but broadcast/cable TV PR reps use that ‘regret’ tactic a lot”; Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo tweeted, “Who goes birther first, Scalia or Woodward?” The messaging was universal from the leftist Obama-supporting media: Woodward hadn’t been threatened, and was an amateur or a crazy old coot to think he was being threatened. Matt Yglesias of Slate summed up the general Palace Guard Media take: “Woodward’s managed to make me suspect Nixon got a raw deal.”
This sad indirect reflection on the presidency began last weekend, when Woodward complained of Obama, “moving the goal posts” concerning sequestration spending and the fact that Obama designed sequestration to deal with cuts rather than tax increases. Jay Carney admitted that sequestration was Obama’s concept, before the Obama White House responded that Woodward was “willfully wrong”.
“It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, ‘You’re going to regret doing something that you believe in,’” Woodward told CNN. Wednesday morning, Woodward told MSNBC that Obama’s decision to redeploy an aircraft carrier from the Persian Gulf thanks to the possibility of the sequester was irresponsible, the “kind of madness I haven’t seen in a long time.”
Mr Woodward, this madness you speak of has been in charge of the government for four years. Why has it taken so long for an erudite man to realize the situation the country faces. Was it the personal insults to your integrity or the realization that ideological leadership is a formula for disaster.
The Left and the Obama administration has written off Woodward, but I think we should watch the old sleuth in the future. His honor has been tweaked, and he has been known to bring down a presidency.