A Wrench In The Gears Of State Directed Media

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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.

A professional horseman for over 40 years, Skook continues to work with horses. He is in an ongoing educational program, learning life's lessons from one of the world's greatest instructors, the horse. Skook has finished an historical novel that traces a mitochondrial line of DNA from 50,000 years ago to the present. The book Fifty-Thousand Years is awaiting me to finish a final proofread and it should be sent to the formatter in a matter of days. I am still working, so it is not easy to devote the time I need to finish the project. The cover is a beautiful wok of art. I would put it up here if I could figure out how to make it work.

17 Responses to “A Wrench In The Gears Of State Directed Media”

  1. 1


    Skook, I don’t think that Woodward and Bernstein originially intended to bring down a sitting president just because he was a Republican. I think they got a hold of a story, and they took it where ever it lead. Unfortunately, it lead right to the Oval Office.

    As to Woodward, I have read a few of his books, and while I would not call him a flaming liberal, I do think he leans left but tries to keep his political leanings out of his reporting. But one thing he is and that is a jounalist in the old style of reporting the news and letting the chips fall where they may. One of the herd, he is not. Walter Cronkite, he is not, as he, and Bernstein, reported the facts, not trying to sway opinion one way or another. Woodward has seemingly continued that style for the last forty years.

    Now he’s learning that to speak in any manner other than glowing terms of this current administration is going to get you nothing but wrath from the pushers of the Kool-ade. But even that is not a new phenomonon; FDR controlled the press like no one before him (well, except for Lincoln) and no one since until Obama. It is clear that the current crop of reporters who consider themselves journalists suffer from battered wife syndrome. They are expected to do their jobs to please their boss (Obama) in spite of the abuse he heaps on them. And if they wander off, the beatdown will come.

    Now they will circle the wagons and will proceed to eat one of their own, all in the name of loyalty to the pseudo-King. For the others you listed, the joy at finally having a socialist President, who governs exactly in the ways they learned from their socialist professors, trumps truth-telling to the American people. Bob Woodward should have expected it, and I’m sure he does. Bob Woodward also understands the power of the pen and these Johnny-Come-Lately pundits are going to take on one of the few journalists that still command respect from the American people.

  2. 2

    Nan G

    LannyDavis is now saying the White House also threatened him over a story.

    WH Senior Adviser Plouffe: Woodward Washed Up

    Gene Sperling, the director of the White House Economic Council, was the one threatening Woodward.

    Who was it who wrote:
    Never pick a fight with someone who buys their ink by the barrel.

  3. 3



    @retire05: Thanks for the well-written background on Woodward, it gives a human side to the reporter, that I neglected. Following a scoop like Watergate, rather than being a political hack is the essence of being a journalist. We should hope there are still such young guns out there investigating the multitude of possible leads Obama has left in his wake, but I don’t think they exist. Unfortunately, they would need to be financially independent, because no state-directed media outlet would keep them on the payroll.

  4. 4



    @Nan G: It is hard to have respect for Lanny Davis as a journalist when he refuses to acknowledge that he is eroding the essence of the First Amendment by continuing with his servile obeisance of Obama despite the obvious efforts to control the press. The indoctrination of men like Davis must have been so effective, they cannot acknowledge the truth or contradict the party line when the facts are literally in their face.

    Plouffe is a party hack, with no more conscience or morals than a thug for the mafia. The advancement of the party line or the socialist revolution is the most important consideration, so far beyond truth and honor that they are no longer on his radar.

    I suppose Woodward endured the verbal assault by Spurling to hopefully catch a verbal miscue and a lead. I don’t think he was intimidated by Obama’s hack. It was a wise move by Obama to expose the ‘enforcer’, since it neutralized the situation, but we are left wonder if they have piqued Woodward enough to put him on the trail of a good story. I hope so, it would be a dramatic and final conclusion to America’s disastrous experiment in Socialism.

  5. 5



    We should hope there are still such young guns out there investigating the multitude of possible leads Obama has left in his wake, but I don’t think they exist

    Unfortunately, the universities that are churning out future “journalists” (and I use that term very, VERY loosely), like the University of Missouri and the University of Texas, who have professors like Robert Jensen that I have been trying for years to get someone at UT to take a hard look at. Jensen is a self-proclaimed Marxist who used to keep a huge poster sized photo of Che’ in his class room. Most journalism majors take his class because a) Jensen doesn’t really test and b) it’s an easy A. Some do complain of his “indoctrination” tactics but still, an easy A helps the overall GPA.

    But the gods of any journalism school remain Walter Durany, Walter Lippmann and Walter Cronkite, all far left wing proponents who believe it was their job to not just report the news, but to report the news in a way that created public opinion. Years after the war in Vietnam ended, Cronkite admitted that he was virulently anti-war. Duh? Anyone who watched Cronkite’s reports understood that. Yet he is hailed as a example of fact telling and promoted as someone to emulate in the classes of our journalism schools.

    but we are left wonder if they have piqued Woodward enough to put him on the trail of a good story.

    I don’t think Woodward fears any backlash from this administration. After all, he took on the most powerful machine of the ’70’s; the Nixon Administration. Been there, done that. Hell, the man is 70 years old, and if the pundit talking heads on the left thought that Woodward would just be dismissed as a senile old man who has passed his prime, they would not be going after him with such vitriol. There are still a few journalists that Americans still trust, like Jake Tapper, and Bob Woodward is one of them. The in-the-tank-for-Obama talking heads don’t go after someone unless they are worried about that person’s ability to destroy the meme of the Obama administraiton they have created and covered up. They did the same to Bernie Goldberg. He had the audacity to call them out. Anyone who doesn’t tow the line for the left agenda, shall be destroyed (i.e. Juan Williams).

  6. 6



    @retire05: Juan Williams reminds me of the victims of Stalin’s purges, who still remain ideologically loyal to the revolution after spending decades in the gulags and seeing family members liquidated. With them, the indoctrination was so effective they have lost the ability to reason or apply logic outside of the party line. In essence it is a paralysis of the mind. Williams proves his inability to function while describing the viciousness of the Left for the offense of deviating ever so slightly from the party line, and in the next breath supporting the same ideology that sought to destroy him. He has become a parody of himself.

  7. 7



    Actual emails:

    From Gene Sperling to Bob Woodward on Feb. 22, 2013


    I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.

    But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)

    I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is different [sic]. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.

    My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.


    From Woodward to Sperling on Feb. 23, 2013

    Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today. Best, Bob

  8. 8


    “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.”

    Yea, the TRUTH sure seems to be a major distraction to the Left these days…. the TRUTH certainly does get the Left all worked up… it gets so bad the venom spews from every pore in their bodies…

  9. 9


    @retire05: The begining of the thinning of the useful idiots — seen it a zillion times — lay off or fire a guy in order to intimidate the remaining poggies– hopefully Woodie may turn out to be the wrong choice.

  10. 11


    @Skook: Re the Gene and Bob show >> You’re OK — I’m OK — La–la-la la lala — pablum anyone — “Please sir — can I have some more?”

    Everyone keep in mind it wasn’t Woodie that leaked Sperling — IMO the leak was damage control.

  11. 12


    @Budvarakbar: You sly dog, you have nailed it to about 99% efficiency, but there is a slight deviation as to Woodward’s purpose. I am in computer school now and couldn’t finish your commentary, but you are closer to the true motive than all the rest. It is hard for old farts to be relevant and in the center of things, I know, believe me, I know. Now why would Woodward want to immerse himself in the shallows of the wading pool of controversy? Could there be an advantage for him to muddy the water without alienating his beloved Liberals. Yes, indeed, and while our intellectually gifted throw manure at one another, I am enjoying the game.

    if no one figures out the enigma by tomorrow or the next day, I will be forced to be the party pooper and end the nonsense. LOL

  12. 14



    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.

    Woodward’s criticism is nothing new. Remember that his 2012 book The Price of Politics does not paint the president in a particularly good light.

    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.

    The last major one that I can recall right away was the Newsweek cover story by Niall Fergusson (and this was close to the election). MSM has covered the president and his administration with negative stories during his presidency (some of which get linked by all-too happy conservatives who will in the same breath lament about the fawning media over Obama).

    Skook, I agree with conservatives that the media tilts leftward; and that there is ample evidence of bias creeping into media reporting and that the bias takes on many forms.

    But I also believe that conservatives, ever suspicious and hypersensitive to media bias, sometimes overplay the charge.

    As far as the “you’ll regret it” line, that could be interpreted in ways aside from what conservatives really want to believe: A veiled threat to destroying Woodward’s character and career or even more insidiously in Mafia-like fashion: Perhaps scratching up a baseball card for Woodward to be added onto some secret kill list? 😉

  13. 15


    @Budvarakbar: Oh, dang it all to Hell! That clever Wordsmith had to spill the beans. When you are selling a book, especially while contemplating retirement, you need to be controversial, and what better way than to create an issue out of a non-issue. It’s book dollars for Woodward and a diversion for the White House, but this time, the Democrats took the catfish cornball bait as well as the Republicans.

    With the controversy and a feeling of brotherhood with Conservatives, Woodward gets Conservative money that would have never been available. Conservatives seem to be collectively more erudite than Libs, despite Liberal claims of intellectual superiority, thus greater market potential; unfortunately, I base my entire data upon my personal opinions and anecdotal evidence gleaned from reading the best pundits from each side of the aisle. It doesn’t get better than that my friends.

    We can assume the charade is as phony as the email exchange that reads more like sorority girls feeling guilty after an argument brought about by PMS than hardened political operatives going for the jugulars. Again we have been had, set up by an old pro, if that’s a consolation. There in the distance I hear Woodward’s Socialist cash register kaching, it is gearing up for capitalist profits. Kaching… Kaching… LOL On the race track, we used to say, “you have to admire a good conman.” A good conman is so good at getting your money, you don’t even know you have been fleeced.

  14. 16


    Woodward never felt threatened, but felt the email was inappropriate. Publicity keeps these guys in the limelight and fires up the passions on both the Left and Right. Bingo. Woodward is now on everyone’s mind. He is a media event. The White House can quit defending itself for making ridiculous threats over sequestration. Oh what a silly world, Woodward makes a nice retirement nest egg and the White House can duck its responsibilities till later on in the next week.

    Hat tip to a lady!

    Woodward on Hannity:http://www.mediaite.com/tv/woodward-tells-hannity-he-does-not-feel-threatened-by-white-house-but-still-concerned-abo

  15. 17

    Richard Wheeler

    Word and Skook Much ado about nothing. Woodward looking to sell some books. Over the top right wing wishfully and blissfully sucked in–again.
    I’ll say again Woodward is a Liberal—-and a damn good one.

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