Ed Driscoll

Oceania has Always Been at War with Bob Woodward

Steve Green, our friendly neighborhood Vodkapundit, comes back from vacation, says, man, did I pick the wrong week to quit sniffing glue drinking Martinis:


An infinite and expanding universe is incapable of holding enough popcorn for this show. Imagine Brian Cox joining the Campus Crusade for Christ. Imagine me on a horse with my gentle sidekick, tilting at Glenmorangie. Picture, if you can for just one moment, a day with just three or four links from Instapundit.

All of these things are more likely than a Democrat White House going to war against Bob Woodward. And yet it has happened.

Of course, now is when journalists of every stripe, from far leftwinger to slightly less far leftwinger, will rally ’round the man who inspired each of them to become a journalist! The man who brought down a president!

My, but the crickets do chirp loudly this time of year.

The long knives will come out for Bob Woodward, mark my words. Richard Nixon had to be destroyed because he created the EPA and ended the war in Vietnam and instituted wage and price controls — while having the gall to not be a Democrat. And now one of their own is going after Teh Won? He. Must. Be. Destroyed.

On the other hand, Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller says hey, no big deal: “Bob Woodward trolled us (and we got played):”

 P0litico has posted the exclusive email from Gene Sperling to Woodward. It begins, “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today.”

(Frightening, I know!)

Sperling’s email eventually does say, “I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.” But this is clearly not a veiled threat of retaliation, but rather a warning that the reporter was about to get the story wrong.

When Woodward tells of being warned he would “regret” challenging Obama, it sounds ominous. But if Politico’s reporting today is correct, it seems much more innocuous than that.

Looks like we were played.

Or not. However mild the tone of Sperling’s email, Woodward is hip-deep in attacks from All the President’s Juicebox Mafia. As Ace writes, “And consider too that Chuck Todd [of NBC/MSNBC] has just also joined in the White House-coordinate[d] scheme to discredit Bob Woodward. Even as they claim there was no threat, they execute the actual threat!

And it’s not a new technique; Mike Riggs of Reason runs down a half dozen previous threats the Obama administration has made to journalists. At the PJ Tatler, Bryan Preston writes, “The Dam Breaks: National Journal’s Ron Fournier Says the Obama White House Threatened Him Too.” And even a former Clinton official with a newspaper column says he was threatened:

Lanny Davis, formerly a special counsel to President Bill Clinton, told WMAL’s Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor that a White House official once threatened to have The Washington Times’ White House credentials revoked over columns Davis had written.

Davis says his editor “received a phone call from a senior Obama White House official who didn’t like some of my columns, even though I’m a supporter of Obama. I couldn’t imagine why this call was made.”

“And Let’s Not Forget the Primary Lie That Prompted the Secondary Threat,” Ace adds:

Brit Hume: Woodward’s sin was exposing “big whoppers” the Administration told on the sequester.

There are several lies Woodward has exposed:

1. Obama, despite the media blitz to blame the GOP, actually conceived of and proposed the sequester.

2. Obama, despite now claiming that tax increases must be part of the deal to avoid the sequester, agreed last year that only spending cuts would constitute the plan to avoid the sequester. Thus, he’s “moved goalposts” yet again.

3. Obama does not in fact have to release illegal aliens or cancel ship deployments due to the sequester — he’s doing these things by choice, for political purposes.

Woodward’s reporting that the Sequester was Obama’s idea makes a hash out of this claim by former Time staffer turned (official) Obama flack Jay Carney: “WH claims Obama’s budget delayed by ‘manufactured crises’ like sequester.”

Meanwhile, the editor of the far left Nation proudly boasts that “Smart @thenation interns & young folks have no idea who Woodward is,” which is pretty astonishing, considering how, at least when I was studying journalism a million years ago in college, professors divided that industry into two eras, before and after All The President’s Men, the equivalent of BC and AD.* Like Oceania going to war against alternatively East Asia and Eurasia, I wonder how historians will revise how that era of journalism is studied in years to come.

But then, as Jim Treacher writes, the veteran Washington Post columnist does deserve some amount of blame for his current predicament, in that “Woodward didn’t actually inspire people to become journalists. He inspired them to attack Republicans and protect Democrats. They learned the wrong lesson from Watergate. And now they’re turning on their idol for his blasphemy. All the President’s Men 2: JournoList Boogaloo.

Heh. I’m not sure if he’s currently looking up or down to survey the playing field, but somewhere, Richard Nixon is loving every moment of this. It’s certainly doing wonders for the reputation of traditional journalists everywhere.

* To use initials that have also been sequestered by the Glorious Cultural Revolution.

Update: Speaking of religion (a very different kind of religion, in this case), great observation on the massed attacks against Woodward: “This is a lot like the abuse that happens when someone tries to leave Scientology.”