All The President’s Thugs

Instapundit has a big roundup of links to the Bob Woodward story.

You know, the last time a paranoid socialist president with an enemies list crossed swords with Woodward, it didn’t end well for him. And the media’s hackery/flackery in the service of The One has never been more fully on display.

[Update a while later]

I do have to say that I find Woodward’s naivety in thinking that the president wouldn’t approve of this a little disquieting.

[Update a few minutes later]

That noted right winger Ron Fournier got similar treatment. At some point, the floodgates might open, at least for those few reporters who still imagine themselves to have any integrity whatsoever. I’ll be there are a lot of stories like this out there. And I have to say, I’m not really surprised that it’s Gene Sperling. He always strikes me as a little weasel whenever I see him spinning.

[Update a while later]

A dissenting view from Kevin Hassett: Gene Sperling is no thug.

I wonder who Fournier’s interactions were with? Certainly Plouffe hasn’t covered himself in glory here.

[Update a while later]

Fournier expands on his previous account. It’s still ambiguous, at least to me, whether he’s saying that this is the same WH official who “threatened” Woodward. But I just find this kind of thing mind blowing:

Reporting by Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered Watergate misdeeds and led to the resignation of President Nixon. My tweet was not intended to compare Nixon to Obama (there is no reason to doubt Obama’s integrity — period) but rather to compare the attack to the press strategies of all the presidents’ men.

…This can’t be what Obama wants. He must not know how thin-skinned and close-minded his staff can be to criticism. “I have the greatest respect and admiration for what you do,” Obama told reporters a year ago. “I know sometimes you like to give me a hard time, and I certainly like to return the favor, but I never forget that our country depends on you.”

Emphasis mine.

“…no reason to doubt Obama’s integrity”? Really? No reason at all?

“This can’t be what Obama wants”? Really?

The fish rots from the head down, Ron.

[Update a while later]

Heh: “Washington is the only place on earth where Gene Sperling and Rahm Emanuel can successfully bully people.”

30 thoughts on “All The President’s Thugs

  1. Robin Goodfellow

    Broken press, dysfunctional governance, incompetent cabinet members, it’s like watching an exciting movie! What’s gonna happen next?! Oh hey, also, the economy grew at a rate of 0.1% in Q4, so that’s pretty sweet too.

  2. wodun

    Funny that no one paid any attention until it happened to Woodward. Obama has been doing this to the press since ’08. Look at how he treated local reporters that didn’t ask him fluff questions or his war on Fox.

    The sad part is, Obama doesn’t even need to do this. The media is devoted to him like he is a demigod.

  3. Gregg

    Some small amount of attention was paid when Juan Williams was thrown under the bus by the tanked MSM. But that didn’t last because Williams is not in the same class as Woodward.

    Be interesting to see if this, coming on the heels of the Presidential snub of the news-droids while he was on vacation will have any snowballing effect.

    Lany Davis says he was threatened as well.

  4. Paul Milenkovic

    Much as I want to sit back and “break out the popcorn” for Mr. Woodward tangling with Mr. Sperling or whoever, is Bob Woodward the right champion?

    Rather than hop and down and claim, “Bob Woodward proved that the President lied just as he proved Nixon lied”, maybe a person has to run Bob Woodward through a Bayesian filter, and maybe even his career-making account of Watergate also needs to be run through such a filter?

    Many questioned the CIA Director Bob Casey “deathbed interview” by Woodward given that someone in Mr. Casey’s situation wouldn’t be sedated in unconsciousness so as to not die in extreme pain? Maybe so “Bayesian priors” need to be applied to steer Mr. Woodward’s breathless accounts closer to reality?

    Never mind, I am just concern-trolling. Bob Woodward is the sharpest, most experiences, best source reporter evah, Nixon was a crook, and Mr. Obama is on the slippery slope . . .

    1. Rand Simberg Post author

      Paul, the issue isn’t whether or not Woodward should have credibility. The point is, he does in the minds of most of his peers, many of whom were motivated to go into journalism because of him.

      1. Jim

        Go read the emails and decide for yourself whether Woodward’s “threat” claim is at all credible (Woodward’s response to the “threat”: “You do not ever have to apologize to me.”).

        Woodward was wrong about the origins of the sequester, wrong about the “goalposts,” wrong about the limits of presidential power, and he’s wrong when he claims he was threatened. He’s playing you.

        1. George Turner

          The e-mails confirm that the White House economic official was shouting at Woodward.

          The economic official in a position to know the truth said “I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall,” confirming that Woodward was accurate, otherwise he’d be saying “You’re wrong about the facts.” He goes on to say ” — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest.” That’s quite a typical spin, right in line with “But you have to see the big picture” or “But look at the facts with a different perceptual filter.”

          He then goes on to say, “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.”

          Given Woodward’s polite reply, this is more disturbing than a direct threat, somewhat like a Mafia don expressing his personal and heartfelt concern for your safety, but mostly like a White House that’s chummy with the press and used to steering them away from writing anything that the White House will find objectionable, using the peer-pressure from the rest of the press as a cudgel to keep everyone in line and repeating the same talking points.

          Jim, you are enabling that cudgel by willingly repeating the attack on Bob Woodward for his unforgivable sin of reporting the facts.

          1. Jim

            shouting at Woodward

            And shouting at reporters is now off-limits? Who’s got the thin skin here?

            his unforgivable sin of reporting the facts

            Woodward’s reporting about Obama moving the sequester “goalposts” was simply wrong. Sperling tried to warn Woodward that he was about to make a fool of himself. Instead of checking the facts Woodward chose to double down, publishing a bogus story and hysterically complaining that he’d been threatened.

            Woodward has been off his game for a while. The scoop in his last book — that Obama had backed away from a Grand Bargain in 2011 — has been undercut by Erik Cantor’s admission that he talked Boehner into killing the deal. That’s especially embarrassing considering that Cantor was the major source for Woodward’s book!

            So I suppose it makes sense that Woodward is looking for a more credulous audience for his work.

          2. Gregg

            “Given Woodward’s polite reply, this is more disturbing than a direct threat, somewhat like a Mafia don expressing his personal and heartfelt concern for your safety, ”

            Sort of like…..

            …nice reputation you have there. Be a pity if something happened to it…..

        2. Rick C

          @Jim “Woodward was wrong about the origins of the sequester,”

          We have always been at war with Eastasia.

    2. f1b0nacc1

      To paraphrase Winston Churchill…

      If Obama and his thugs went after the Devil, I would at least make a favorable reference to His Infernal Majesty in the House of Commons…

      1. Jim

        Fournier is a fool. I don’t doubt that White House staff treat him like a fool, and that he has trouble understanding why.

        And contra Breitbart, Fournier is not “a liberal in good standing”. He tried to get a job with the McCain campaign, and famously encouraged Karl Rove to “keep up the fight”.

        1. Gregg

          McCain is a RINO and Rove is nothing more than an opportunist who cares nothing for Conservatism but only for raking in mega-bucks….to the detriment of Conservatism.

          So using them to show that Fournier is not a liberal in good standing is, plainly, ignorant.

          1. Bilwick

            I’ve been waiting to see what the Hive’s party-line is regarding the Woodward controversy and the overall story-arc of “Il Dufe’s” authoritarianism. Trust Baghdad Jim to show up to parrot it. Thanks, BJ.

            As Dennis Miller recently said in another context (Michelle Obama’s Orwellian big-screen appearance at the Oscars), “They used to fight the power–not they invite the power.”

  5. George Turner

    If Nixon had the modern sycophantic press that Obama enjoys, he never would’ve needed an enemies list, much less the Watergate break in. Given his creation of the EPA and a host of liberal programs (and opening relations with the Chinese who are bankrolling Obama’s madness) the only government program that would be off-limits to sequestration cuts would be carving Nixon’s face into Mount Rushmore.

    But we don’t live in that world. We live in the one where there’ll be a full-court press to discredit Woodward. If he got killed by a Maverick missile fired from a drone, CNN and MSNBC would investigate Raytheon for production and testing short-cuts that could cause faulty triggering of the firing mechanism, and sadly lay the blame on Republican budget cuts.

  6. wodun

    But B… Bu.. Bush!

    Seriously guys, anyone who is throwing Bush out there as a defense for Obama’s actions at this point needs to be hit upside the head with the clue bat.

  7. Barbara Skolaut

    “He must not know how thin-skinned and close-minded his staff can be to criticism.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Thanks for the laugh.

    They’re thin-skinned and closed-minded, but they’re just following Bambi’s lead.

    Skinless people in a sandpaper world – and Bambi is the skinless-est.

  8. IcePilot

    “We’re going to punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us”

  9. IcePilot

    “If they’re (GOP) successful in doing that … That means that we are going to have just hand-to-hand combat up here on Capitol Hill”

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