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Ed Driscoll

The JournoList is Hopping Tonight

February 27th, 2013 - 11:45 pm
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“Woodwardgate: Media Gang-Tackle Iconic Journalist to Save Obama:”

It began with Politico itself, which downplayed the entire incident, even as it acknowledged that Woodward’s “play-by-play is basically spot on” with regard to reporting the sequestration. “White House officials are certainly within their rights to yell at any journalist, including Bob Woodward,” said official Obama buddies Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei. Allen and VandeHei merely suggested that the battle with Woodward was “a major distraction at a pivotal moment for the president.” They added, “Watching and now having interviewed Woodward, it is easy to see why White House officials get worked about him.” Poor Obama, having to deal with such issues.

Next, the White House went to its favorite outlet, Buzzfeed, and their favorite BenSmithing reporter, Ben Smith, to leak the source of the Woodward “regret” email. It’s clear why they did it – Smith spun the entire incident for the White House. After announcing that the email came from Gene Sperling, director of the White House Economic Council, he proceeded to pretend that the threat email wasn’t a threat email at all – actually, Woodward was making a rookie mistake by misinterpreting a kindly tip as a threat: “Officials often threaten reporters that they will ‘regret’ printing something that is untrue, but Woodward took the remark as a threat.” Nothing to see here. Move along. Just to clarify, Smith later added via Twitter, “Am I crazy to read ‘regret’ here as ‘regret being wrong’? This is something flacks yell at reporters a lot.”

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.”

As I said, the JournoList, or whatever its successor is called these days, is burning up its members’ inboxes tonight.

Meanwhile, at the Conversation, Breitbart.com’s group blog, Debra Heine asks, “Who’s The Senior WH Official That Threatened Bob Woodward?”, along with some possible names. Of course, as Jim Treacher notes, “if this had happened under a Republican administration, would Woodward have kept the culprit’s identity to himself?”

Update: Mark Judge on “Our Nixonian Press.” And don’t miss “The Night Planet Liberalism Turned on Bob Woodward,” from Matt Welch at Reason:

It has been a special night on Twitter for those of us who take a perverse interest in the way that ideologically aligned journalists and politicos will pack-attack critics of a sitting American president. Seems that Washington Post investigative-journalism legend Bob Woodward crossed a bridge too far when, in talking about reaction to his narrative-debunking Feb. 22 piece pinning the origination of the sequester directly on a White House that had vociferously denied paternity, has now gone on to dish on a “senior White House official” (later identified as White House Economic Council Director Gene Sperling) who “yelled at me for about a half hour” about the op-ed, and warned that “I think you will regret staking out that claim.”

Finally, as noted above, it’s come to this:

Ahh, the strange new respect keeps flowing. Although in this case, take it with a healthy grain of morally relativistic salt:

Click to enlarge.

More: “Last June, Bill Clinton got a little too complimentary to Mitt Romney. Do you remember how that worked out? All of a sudden, liberals started suggesting Bill Clinton was getting senile.”

And here we go again: “Media Matters’ Boehlert Mocks Bob Woodward’s Age.”

(Bumped to top.)

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