Or I should say “former” liberal icon Bob Woordward. Why? Because the journalist famous for “exposing” Richard Nixon is now busting wide open the phony White House narrative on the sequestration issue, and we just can’t have that. Via Politico (bolded emphasis added by me) :
Bob Woodward called a senior White House official last week to tell him that in a piece in that weekend’s Washington Post, he was going to question President Barack Obama’s account of how sequestration came about – and got a major-league brushback. The Obama aide “yelled at me for about a half hour,” Woodward told us in an hour-long interview yesterday around the Georgetown dining room table where so many generations of Washington’s powerful have spilled their secrets.
Digging into one of his famous folders, Woodward said the tirade was followed by a page-long email from the aide, one of the four or five administration officials most closely involved in the fiscal negotiations with the Hill. “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today,” the official typed. “You’re focusing on a few specific trees that give a very wrong impression of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here. … I think you will regret staking out that claim.”
Woodward repeated the last sentence, making clear he saw it as a veiled threat. ” ‘You’ll regret.’ Come on,” he said. “I think if Obama himself saw the way they’re dealing with some of this, he would say, ‘Whoa, we don’t tell any reporter ‘you’re going to regret challenging us.'”
“They have to be willing to live in the world where they’re challenged,” Woodward continued in his calm, instantly recognizable voice. “I’ve tangled with lots of these people. 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. I don’t think it’s the way to operate.”
He’s right, it’s not – but this is the Obama administration we’re talking about here, operating publicly under the pretense of being the “most open and transparent administration in history” when in reality their only transparency is how often they make it clear via a reading between the lines that you will NOT question this President, no matter if you’re a one of the few mainstream media journalists who isn’t crushing on our celebrity President or a pesky American citizen who has the audacity to express concerns about how the leader of the free world is going about conducting our business when they believe no one else is looking.
Woodward — first in “The Price of Politics,” his best-seller on the failed quest for a grand budget bargain, and later with his opinion piece in the Post — makes plain that sequestration was an idea crafted by the White House. Obama personally approved the plan and later signed it into law. Woodward was right, several congressional officials involved in the talks told us.
The Woodward reporting has caused the White House spin machine to sputter at a crucial time. The president was running around the country, campaign-style, warning that Republicans were at fault for the massive cuts set to hit Friday. What Obama never says: It was his own staff that proposed sequestration, and the tax hikes he now proposes — aimed at replacing half of the cuts — were never part of that very specific plan.
The White House instead has, with great success, fudged the facts. The administration has convinced a majority of the country that Republicans are more to blame by emphasizing that Republicans voted for the plan. Which they did — after Obama conceived it.
Bingo. This administration is scared sh*tless that a seasoned, respected journalist has the outright nerve to point out the fact that they are lying through their respective teeth about the origins of the sequestration idea, because ObamaCo – smack dab in the middle of painting Republicans in the usual heartless way that Democrats often do over issues like these – knows that if the American people find out the truth about where this idea originated, administration officials will take the brunt of the heat from citizens across this country who Carney, Plouffe, and the like have told to blame those evil, dastardly Republicans for their loss of benefits, jobs, etc.
For the record, here is a more complete version of the email exchange between Woodward and senior WH economics advisor Gene Sperling. I’ve snipped the relevant parts of the email (again – via Politico – hat tip: Memeorandum) :
[Feb 22] Bob:
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. […]
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
Of course, we know the “leak” of this email exchange came directly from the White House without Politico having to tell us because the WH wants you to believe that Woodward’s friendly response back to Sperling’s “apology” meant that Woodward didn’t take Sperling’s comments as a threat at the time. Let me explain to you what’s really going on here: Sperling yelled at a veteran, “hero” journalist for a full 30 minutes or so trying to intimidate him in order to see he was “wrong” on the origins of sequestration talk. Woodward refused to bite. Realizing he wasn’t helping the administration’s cause by angering a distinguished journalist like Woodward, Sperling sent the somewhat apologetic email but couldn’t resist including a thinly-veiled threat in the mix in a last ditch effort to get Woodward to back off. Woodward, being the consummate reporter he is and wanting to stay on decent terms with a valuable administration source, grins and bears it in response by telling Sperling not to worry, he didn’t take the yelling at him in a bad way and, paraphrasing, ‘let’s touch base later.’ Woodward’s not stupid. He’s not going to respond back by screaming, “How dare you talk to me that way?!” He’s going to keep it going, because it’s good journalism theater to talk and write about later.
This is what’s extremely fascinating to me from a historical perspective: Woodward has been an absolute liberal icon and hero for decades, being known as one of the intrepid reporters who doggedly exposed the corruption of the Nixon administration over Watergate to the point that the President eventually resigned in disgrace. Woodward is so legendary in liberal/MSM circles that journalism classes in prestigious colleges across America make him an essential part of their lesson plans, if not have outright courses devoted to studying how he and Carl Bernstein took on the Nixon administration. I mean, the sun has risen and set on Woodward as far as liberals and his/their allies in the mainstream press have been concerned. But all of a sudden he is Public Enemy #1, not just to administration officials but also to many of the very journalists and up and coming liberally biased investigative reporters who have looked up to him for so many years in sheer awe and admiration. Tweet after tweet rolled through last night from mainstream media journalists, administration officials, and popular liberal bloggers and pundits as to how Woodward had now “lost his way” not only over his (correct) reporting about the sequestration but also over alleging threats from senior White House officials to not publish his opinion. The negative reactions of these people who once looked upon Woodward with stars in their eyes and hope in their hearts was very revealing as to the sad state of affairs when it comes to our modern mainstream media and the opinion writers who either appear on the pages of these news outlets in some form or fashion – or want to.
We’ve known this for some time, but the veil has been fully lifted now so that more than just political junkies will notice: When it comes right down to it, liberals in both straight journalism and the opinion media firmly and openly believe it’s the press corps’ responsibility not to try to get the government to be open, honest, and accountable to the people who elected them to their positions, but instead to shield a sitting Democrat President from criticism and questioning from fellow journalists and the American public. And they’ll do so at the expense of the mostly sterling reputation of a well-respected, longtime colleague whose record, to them, was mostly unblemished until he had the sheer gall to pointedly, truthfully criticize Dear Leader. This, friends, is not how the Founding Fathers envisioned “freedom of the press.” The press were and are supposed to be the watchdogs – NOT lapdogs – of the government at all levels, informing the people of the goings in local, state, and federal government, exposing corruption, pointing out lies, alerting the people as to various agendas, etc. But now, in the narrow, agenda-driven minds of the left, the press’ obligation to scrutinize a politico only applies when the government official being monitored by the media is a conservative or Republican or someone else who otherwise will not toe the liberal line. Then it’s open season. In the meantime, you just shut the hell up and let Democrats do whatever they want to, because they have your “best interests” at heart, and to hell with your unease over the freedom-encroaching things they’re doing under the guise of “helping people.”
I don’t have to say how deeply disturbing this is in terms of how the left’s shameful , one-sided “accountability system” has helped seriously damage our great country, but it’s refreshing to see how much it’s playing out right before our very eyes for everyone in America to observe and opine about. Sunlight, as they say, is the best disinfectant, and I can’t think of a more deserving bunch than the liberal corruptocrats in and around DC – and in Chicago – who helped propel this phony “change agent” on to the national stage in the first place, and who still try to spin as a “savior” the totalitarian in disguise who resides in the White House.
Bring it on.
Update/Related – 10:30 AM: Lanny Davis, former special counsel to Bill Clinton, says the Obama admin once threatened the Washington Times over a column he wrote. Read more here.