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February 28th, 2013 - 12:52 pm

Jay Rosen of NYU poo-poohs reports that the Obama White House could be intimidating journalist.  Rosen tweets that “Woodward’s “threat” fantasia has become even more absurd; now we have the actual emails http://politi.co/12e9TOC He thought he could play us.”

Meaning Woodward could “play us”.

That’s probably because Woodward got exactly the same treatment as the National Journal’s Ron Fournier. “As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Politico characterized as a veiled threat. “You will regret staking out that claim.”

What is interesting — though Jay Rosen doesn’t notice this — is that both incidents followed the same pattern. Bad cop. Good cop. Veiled warning. The similarities are uncanny. The emails between Sperling and Woodward have the White House staffer apologizing for raising his voice in past converations:

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.

That sounds a lot like what Fournier characterized as “vulgarity, abusive language” from his source. In both cases it is followed by the explanation that the rancor was used only in trying to set the record straight (“Get off your high horse and assess the facts, Ron”). Finally there was the repetition of the curious key phrase “regret” in it.

Ian Fleming wrote in his classic novel Goldfinger: “Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action’.”

Maybe this is the way people routinely talk in the White House.  Or maybe people act this way because there’s a playbook. If Bob Woodward was having a “fantasia” what are the odds that Fournier should have the exact same nightmare? The odds are low. If one more journalist comes forward with a similar story, they become astronomically low.  Maybe things haven’t changed much in Chicago since Auric Goldfinger spent time there.

Looks like the anonymous White House aide telephone and email script is getting old though. Here are some possible lines they might consider upgrading to.

Former Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter describes how he was treated by Robert Gibbs even when Obama was just a candidate.

JONATHAN ALTER, FORMER SENIOR EDITOR, NEWSWEEK: There is a kind of a threatening tone that from time to time, not all the time, but comes out of these guys

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this White House, but that doesn’t excuse it. And, you know, they should not play that way, but they, they feel like they’re holding the cards in the relationship. They’ve got people’s access, you know, to hold over them.

I remember one time I reported something during the

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and we were on the road, and we were actually in Berlin. It was on Obama’s

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in 2008, and they didn’t like something that I had reported, and I was disinvited to a dinner that night that reporters were having with the candidate. I was told “Don’t come” you know, you know fairly abusive email.

STEVE MALZBERG, HOST: Who told you that? Who sent you the email?

He was already the Royal Presence, even before he was president. If they can do this to Alter and Woodward and Fournier, then must be treating the average reporter like sh**t. Clearly if a Republican candidate had done this they would have crucified him. But they let it slide in Obama’s case. And now maybe it’s too late.


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All Comments   (29)
All Comments   (29)
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I've had some nasty experience with Rosen when I had my own blog some years back. Unlike his liberal NY colleagues Jeff Jarvis and Clay Shirkey he strikes me as more an aggressive liberal ideologue, than just another liberal, but really smart, college professor. So I find it completely unsurprising he would be loyal to Obama against even a canonized saint of the Liberal establishment like Bob Woodward.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's clear to me that the corporate owners of the media for which reporters and editors work, have a corporate interest. Reporters and editors are employees, at heart.

So watch the anti-trust investigations, the FCC license violations and spectrum allocations, etc etc. The case is clear to me that the big media are a-feared for their properties and their equity in government-granted privileges.

Better to play along; it might produce a windfall, otherwise, the government will come down on you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here's the deal. Let's make some lemonade out of the lemons we have built dealt.

Under our glorious new V.A.W.A., it is now a federal crime for a man - any man - to indulge in "unpleasant" or "annoying" speech to a woman. And that man is guilty until he proves himself innocent.

Well, my wife finds our Boy Emperor's speech very "unpleasant" and "annoying".

Daggummit! That Boy has committed a Federal Crime and needs to be locked up right away. It's a real crime I tell ya! My wife has been violated!

Now if we could only get a few million women to file a complaint, then we might have somethin. Lock him up for a few million years and the world would be a better place.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tonight on the O'Reilly program Lanny Davis said that he had never been threatened the way the Obama Admin did or heard of anyone being so threatened.

It seesm that Lanny Davis wrote in one of his columns that he disagreed with some aspect of the way the Obama Admin was doing something that he in fact agreeded with in terms of policy. In response the Obama Admin called his editor at the Washington Times and said that all the Times reporters would have their press credentials revoked if they did not kill the Davis column.

But he also said that he did not think the Obama Admin was any different in that regard than other Admins - they all dislike being talked about negatively, even if 90%+ of your writing is in support of them, like good old Lanny. Faithful to the end!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
For what it's worth, I offer this trivial remark in support of Mr. Woodward's character, at least as he was known to me, many years ago, long before he became famous:


When I was a paperboy, delivering the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times, between 1957 and 1962 in Wheaton, Illinois, one of my customers (on Prairie Avenue!) was the Woodward family. Bob's younger sister was a good friend, and an exact contemporary. Bob himself was two years older than I. We both ended up going to, and graduating from, Yale.


Bob's dad was one of the most respected people in the community, and a Republican, probably a very moderate one. Bob was a good guy, of the type that used to be called, with a mixture of envy and irony, a "straight arrow." But he was definitely a good guy.


I'm delighted to see him in action again. In recent years, most of his work has seemed kind of flat and "insider-y" without much edge.



Jamie Irons
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"He enrolled in Yale University with an NROTC scholarship, and studied history and English literature. While at Yale, Woodward joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.[2] He received his B.A. degree in 1965, and began a five-year tour of duty in the United States Navy. After being discharged as a lieutenant in August 1970, Woodward considered attending law school but applied for a job as a reporter for The Washington Post, while taking graduate courses at The George Washington University. Harry M. Rosenfeld, the Post's metropolitan editor, gave him a two-week trial but did not hire him because of his lack of journalistic experience. After a year at the Montgomery Sentinel, a weekly newspaper in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, Woodward was hired as a Post reporter in September 1971."

A Navy officer during the Vietnam War who does don't call his former shipmates war criminals who acted like Ghegis Khan!

I wonder what he thinks of an administration that names John Kerry Secretary of State?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Woodward
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Speaking of intimidation and on a completely unrelated note, has anybody here ever received the "American Community Survey" from the US Department of Commerce? I recently received one and it is incredibly invasive. There is absolutely no constitutional justification for asking questions about what time I leave for work, what my marital status is, or how many toilets I have in my home. I am very tempted to shred it and all future mailings. It seems with each passing day there's another infringement on our liberties. How can I handle this without making myself a target for the Feds?


Link#1- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGJnq6wYb28

Link#2- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7x24oBZcxs

(Language alert at Link #2)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I got that survey several years ago. The exact same thing seems to be sent out to a portion of people contacted as part of the regular census.

My only real problem with it is that they wanted a great deal of detail, such as EXACTLY how much you spend on electricity - and not a guess, but an actual referral to your bills over the previous year. I had that info available but was not eager to dig it out.

So after receiving a reminder note I did the research, filled out the form and sent it in. A few days later they called asking for the info. I told them I just sent it in. They wanted me to give it to them over the phone, right then. So I spent the next 30 min or so on the phone answering their questions. I recall that a big thunderstom came up while I was talking to them so I had to go move my car into the garage.

So they will keep sending you cards and letters and calling you on the phone until you give it to them. After all, I ended up doing it TWICE!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is a fine of $100 for each omitted answer and a $500 fine for each untruthful answer up to a total of $5000. If the survey is ignored, there is a 25% chance of someone showing up at your door; repeatedly showing up at your door.

The rumor has it that nobody has been fined for non-compliance as it is thought that the negative publicity would further reduce the already low rate of compliance.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There seems to be a lot of dominos in this line. Woodward is a pretty big fish for these mooks to toy with. The surprise is how long it has taken and the minor nature of this particular story compared to the four years of prior trash.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Juan Williams was convicted of bad taste for being the house liberal for Murdoch. How many victims of the Left bleat "I thought I was one of you?"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They say that Reagan always wore a suit in the Oval Office out of respect for the presidentcy; he wouldn't so much as loosen his tie.
G.W. didn't take things that far but still had lines you didn't cross because he honored the office.
A movie for all occasions, "A Man For All Seasons";

Sir Thomas More: You threaten like a dockside bully.
Cromwell: How should I threaten?
Sir Thomas More: Like a minister of state. With justice.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What happened to the CBS reportchic that rode Fast and Furious? (Sorry name escapes me). Is she still working anywhere?
Methinks that what is really happening is that the body count is getting so large that they have run out of places to hide them.
One thing about liberals, when enough of them 'bleed' metaphorically speaking, they will find a new sugar daddy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
IMPEACH ERIC HOLDER

FOR OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE IN THE 'FAST AND FURIOUS' COVERUP!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Amazing. Attkisson says her source yelled at her, wouldn't put anything in writing, claimed she didn't understand what Holder said. It's same damned playbook. They must have a call center there.

1. Step one. Yell at the reporter.
2. Step two. Say the report didn't understand the question.
3. Step three. Say the reporter will regret something.
4. Step four. Thank them for calling and would they take a one minute survey on the service they received?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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