Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Woodward's War on Obama

In four decades, he has gone from journalistically exposing widespread White House criminality that forced a presidential resignation to elder-statesman pique that places himself at the center of a false balance between Barack Obama and the GOP pygmies threatening the economy.

Summoning up the days of Deep Throat, Bob Woodward complains publicly about being pressured by “a very senior person” at the White House over blaming the President for the sequester:

'Look, we don't go around trying to say to reporters, if you, in an honest way, present something we don't like, that, you know, you're going to regret this.'”

Never mind that the negative “threat” was embedded in a long e-mail preceded by an apology: “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. 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.”

Holy Haldeman, Erlichman, Mitchell and Colson! These Obama people must be getting ready to bring down the FBI and CIA on the intrepid reporter who dares to oppose them.

Woodward’s effort to put himself up front in the sequester story will no doubt be dramatized in a future episode of HBO’s “Newsroom,” but it’s disheartening to see him elbowing his way into a distraction as the drama unfolds.

Any young beat reporter would remind him that there is no equivalence between a gang of muggers and what the victim does or fails to do in trying to ward them off.

Update: A White House statement insists that "of course no threat was intended. As Mr. Woodward noted, the e-mail from the aide was sent to apologize for voices being raised in their previous conversation. The note suggested that Mr. Woodward would regret the observation he made regarding the sequester because that observation was inaccurate, nothing more. And Mr. Woodward responded to this aide's e-mail in a friendly manner."

Not exactly a Dick Cheney-Scooter Libby reprise, but it will keep Woodward in the cable news spotlight for a few days.

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