USA Today reporter: I know more than a few reporters who’ve gotten White House e-mails like the one Woodward got

posted at 9:02 am on February 28, 2013 by Allahpundit

Noteworthy, although I’m not sure which way it cuts. Younger reporters were tweeting last night that they get angry e-mails from political flacks all the time and that it’s no big deal, which is a nifty way to humblebrag about how they’ve upset Power by speaking Truth while also serving the liberal cause du jour of discrediting Bob Woodward. (Some serve more bravely than others.) Is that what David Jackson means here, that Woodward’s blowing routine White House grumpiness out of all proportion? Or that Woodward’s right and that veiled White House threats are more common than you’d think?

In a statement, the White House said that “of course no threat was intended. As Mr. Woodward noted, the email 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 email in a friendly manner.”

All we can say is: We know more than a few reporters have received similar e-mails from White House officials. Yelling has also been known to happen.

Tension between presidents, presidential aides, and the people who cover them is inherent and has been around as the government itself.

Just as I’m writing this, Politico’s posted what’s alleged to be the full e-mail exchange between Woodward and Sperling, no doubt courtesy of a leak from the latter’s office. Quote:

From Gene Sperling to Bob Woodward on Feb. 22, 2013

Bob:

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.

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. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)

I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is diffferent. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.

My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.

Follow the link for Woodward’s supposed reply, which is also conciliatory and even has him saying “You do not ever have to apologize to me” and “I for one welcome a little heat.” Here’s how Woodward himself quoted the e-mail to Politico in their interview yesterday:

The Obama aide “yelled at me for about a half hour,” Woodward told us in an hour-long interview yesterday around the Georgetown dining room table where so many generations of Washington’s powerful have spilled their secrets.

Digging into one of his famous folders, Woodward said the tirade was followed by a page-long email from the aide, one of the four or five administration officials most closely involved in the fiscal negotiations with the Hill. “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today,” the official typed. “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. … I think you will regret staking out that claim.”

Woodward repeated the last sentence, making clear he saw it as a veiled threat. “ ‘You’ll regret.’ Come on,” he said.

The fact that the “threat” came in the context of an apology seemed unusual even last night; as it is, if the leaked e-mail is accurate, Sperling actually apologized three separate times for getting loud and prefaced the “regret” part with “as a friend.” If he’s threatening him, rather than simply trying to steer him away from a wrong/unhelpful claim, it’s a threat so veiled I can’t see it. But stay tuned; Woodward’s set to appear on Hannity’s show tonight to address this, assuming he doesn’t so so elsewhere earlier in the day.


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I had no idea that Bob Woodward was such a racist.

Lily on February 28, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Tonight we will see how good Hannity is.
can_con on February 28, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Jury came back on that one a while ago.

rrpjr on February 28, 2013 at 11:22 AM

It would make sense that the WH wouldn’t go after a big fish like Woodward unless they had got away with it many times before with lesser reporters. It explains not just there biased but their superbias toward Obama. Its a combination of they agree with his liberalism and they don’t want to be alone taking on the WH which has shown it can crush anyone who challenges it.

Conan on February 28, 2013 at 11:23 AM

I am trying hard to get interested in this but cannot.

The reporters are full of their own feeling of self importance and still bend over and ask for another because they are politically aligned with these socialist totalitarians. They only want to be among the “more equal pigs” so they can pretentd to be our betters.

cozmo on February 28, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Obama lies; but he doesn’t want that fact to be pointed out to people. And, if anyone points out that Obama lies, they’re gonna get it.

mountainaires on February 28, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Liars can’t have the truth be told, and they will do whatever they think is necessary to silence those who have the audacity to tell the truth.

ITguy on February 28, 2013 at 11:23 AM

I am trying hard to get interested in this but cannot.

cozmo on February 28, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Likewise. These are the bitc*y internal contortions of a corrupt industry. They have little to do with principles or putting the screws to Obama on behalf of their code or their country.

rrpjr on February 28, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Paging Cory Booker! Paging Cory Booker! Mr. Woodward on line 3.

Will Woodward booker himself?

ProfShadow on February 28, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Younger reporters were tweeting last night that they get angry e-mails from political flacks all the time and that it’s no big deal, which is a nifty way to humblebrag about how they’ve upset Power by speaking Truth while also serving the liberal cause du jour of discrediting Bob Woodward.

Translation: Weigel likes to waggle.

steebo77 on February 28, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Shorter Mitchell: Now that Bush is gone, there’s no longer a reason to do tough reporting.

Hey, Andrea…you’re a reporter, aren’t you?

BobMbx on February 28, 2013 at 11:15 AM

No, she’s just an ugly woman whose face has been resting
under a Steaming Camel Pie for the last 4 years.

ToddPA on February 28, 2013 at 11:39 AM

The notion that any of these hermetically-lawyered old pros ever genuinely “regret” anything they write requires a willing suspension of disbelief. So I do infer a threat, albeit triple-couched like one of those Russian dolls.

Seth Halpern on February 28, 2013 at 11:41 AM

I’m pretty Sharyl Atkinsson said she got screamed at over her reporting of Fast and Furious. Woodward may be hyperventilating (certainly I don’t think Sperling should have done what he’s apologizing for), but there may be a pattern here.

Waggoner on February 28, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Wouldn’t it be ironic if it were the liberal press’s attack on Woodward in defense of the indefensible one, that actually triggers Woodward to finally do the job exposing the faux messiah’s agenda that the media refuses to do out of complicity with the Obama leftist agenda?

Don L on February 28, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Invoking the Godwin Corollary for the Cold War:

Wouldn’t it be ironic if it were McCarthy’s attack on the Army … that actually triggers the downfall of HUAC?

The difference in the situations being, of course, that there really were active Communists in the government and elsewhere; it was this particular instance of over-reach without evidence that triggered McCarthy’s fall, and the resulting shut-down of a serious and important investigation.

Double-irony here, because the Left wanted HUAC shut down, but don’t want their own Journolistas muzzled.

Turn-abouts are always so much fun.

AesopFan on February 28, 2013 at 11:47 AM

So I wonder how many of the O-administration MSM apologists have written features about bullying? Because that’s what the WH is doing to journalists, pure and simple.

Most workplaces would not tolerate this kind of behavior. I don’t know if it rises to the level of a hostile workplace, but it would be great if this aspect gets some notice.

Mayday on February 28, 2013 at 11:54 AM

C’mon, let’s not over analyze this. As stated today, many reporters have received the same “threat” by the White House. Woodward is a liberal Democrat. This could be a thinly veiled message from the leftist media to the White House regarding the treatment they’ve been getting lately. I’m sure they are more than glad for the threats to continue for Fox News, just not one of their own.

lea on February 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM

The best part is that after breaking the ice, other reporters and newspapers are starting to say the same thing.

Hey, how many trees does it take to make a forest?

And if you can’t see the forest for the trees, then maybe the few trees around you aren’t alone any longer…

ajacksonian on February 28, 2013 at 11:58 AM

This should set Bob Woodward’s bona fides until he retires.

J_Crater on February 28, 2013 at 12:03 PM

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/exclusive-the-woodward-sperling-emails-revealed-88226.html

Boy guys, that email sure sounded threatening!

Typhonsentra on February 28, 2013 at 12:13 PM

We have individuals working in the White House that actually type out “My Bad”.

Let that sink in for a second.

We are a nation run by children pretending to be adults and failing.

ClassicCon on February 28, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Tonight we will see how good Hannity is.
can_con on February 28, 2013 at 10:27 AM
Jury came back on that one a while ago.
rrpjr on February 28, 2013 at 11:22 AM

He gets a pass from me due to having Tyrone Woods father and family on 4 times when no-one else could be bothered.

can_con on February 28, 2013 at 12:18 PM

bob is looking foolish, being an idiot on the email swap against gene
-msdnc talking heads

trashing bob big time, he’s just playing a game

cmsinaz on February 28, 2013 at 12:21 PM

@Typhonsentra: If it wasn’t a threat, was it one of those routine “as your lifelong good buddy I’m just worried sick that you’ll feel so guilty for having wronged us with that thoroughly innocuous piece of punditry that your psychiatrist will put you on a suicide watch” emails?

Seth Halpern on February 28, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Isn’t there a sad and famous quote re: “doing nothing while others were rounded up”?
Intelligent people (leftist hacks included) should have gotten the hint when B. Hussein Obama and his (p)sychophants trashed and cut off FOX News.
Of course the JournoListers are now circling the wagons against a pioneer of their own.
Color ME shocked. /sarc
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 28, 2013 at 12:32 PM

“I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.”

“may not believe” what, Gene?

That you are a friend? That you are saying this as a friend? That he will “regret staking out that claim”?

Why wouldn’t he believe he “will regret” doing this? Why should he believe it he will regret it, Gene?

What exactly do you mean, Gene? Having some trouble communicating clearly, Gene?

farsighted on February 28, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Just add this to the “If GWB White House did this….” as entry number 343,432,432,675,454.

Sponge on February 28, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Just add this to the “If GWB White House did this….” as entry number 343,432,432,675,454.

Sponge on February 28, 2013 at 1:13 PM

If the GWB WH did this we would be seeing a Chimpy McBushilter and Darth Cheney protest parade broadcast live on CNN and MSNBC, with sympathetic “reporters” interviewing outraged protesters. The Dem Senate and House members would be doing their own version, led by Princess Nancy, all videotaped for the nightly “news” on CBSNBCABC.

The NYT and WaPo would provide front page coverage.

Local TV news stations and newspapers would repeat it all over and over.

farsighted on February 28, 2013 at 1:23 PM

He’s been taught well by the Chicago thugs.

“Hey, sorry about that ‘I’ll break your legs’ thing. It was just the heat of the moment…kind of. But hey, no hard feelings, right?”

WisRich on February 28, 2013 at 9:07 AM


Let’s state this even more simply for those in denial (i.e. the MSM, AP, etc):

In abusive relationships, the abuser ALWAYS tells the individual being BEING ABUSED they regret their previous abuse which the person being abused MADE them do.

I grew up in Mafia country. This is how they have always worked.

The MSM (remember them? all upset because they couldn’t BE WITH the SCOAMF when he went golfing?) are going ballistic on Woodward because they KNOW they are ALL going to PAY if they can’t SHUT HIM UP !!!

PolAgnostic on February 28, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Don’t know if this has been already said, George Bush put up with way more abuse from the press than Obama by a long shot. I don’t remember George Bush threatening or crying about it. Obama is a baby and an insecure wimp.

birdwatcher on February 28, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Heck, Sarah Palin is more of an upstanding person than Obama could ever hope to be.

birdwatcher on February 28, 2013 at 1:56 PM

What the leftists are reduced to:

mattyglesias

Woodward’s managed to make me suspect Nixon got a raw deal.

Schadenfreude on February 28, 2013 at 2:12 PM

mattyglesias

Woodward’s managed to make me suspect Nixon got a raw deal.

Schadenfreude on February 28, 2013 at 2:12 PM

We have individuals working in the White House that actually type out “My Bad”.

Let that sink in for a second.

We are a nation run by children pretending to be adults and failing.

ClassicCon on February 28, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Thought the same. In between the times I thought the whole exchange was a lesson in mutual a** kissing.

In fact, where is the lol?

LetsBfrank on February 28, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Summa Summarum

Schadenfreude on February 28, 2013 at 2:52 PM

All we can say is: We know more than a few reporters have received similar e-mails from White House officials. Yelling has also been known to happen.

Tension between presidents, presidential aides, and the people who cover them is inherent and has been around as the government itself.

Are written apologies for verbal lashings also inherent?

They are saying this isn’t a big deal because his email was an apology and an apology letter cannot possibly be a threat. My question then would be how bad was the yelling during the phone discussion that it deserved a follow up apology?

weaselyone on February 28, 2013 at 2:57 PM

All we can say is: We know more than a few reporters have received similar e-mails from White House officials. Yelling has also been known to happen.

Tension between presidents, presidential aides, and the people who cover them is inherent and has been around as the government itself.

2nd thought on this. How professional is the White House acting that they are committing actions that require apologies to media?

I understand making your position clear, but to outright attack members of the media and then apologize for it? He called Bob a “friend”. Can you imagine what they treat journalists that they don’t consider friends like? Maybe if you aren’t a friend, you get the verbal lashing without the apology.

weaselyone on February 28, 2013 at 3:03 PM

The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really.

So now we not only have to let Congress pass a bill before we can find out what’s in it, we have to worry about the bill’s DNA. Laws will now contain non-specified, undisclosed “accepted understandings” that will become public knowledge only at such time one of the parties finds it convenient to make them public. Got it.

Kafka had nothing on this crowd.

SukieTawdry on February 28, 2013 at 3:06 PM

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.

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. … I think you will regret staking out that claim.”

Either someone is still living in the dark ages before the invention of copy/paste, or something very fishy is going on here.

RINO in Name Only on February 28, 2013 at 9:11 PM

I was afraid Woodward would back down on Hannity tonight. But he did not.

Is there a fight looming?

petefrt on February 28, 2013 at 9:23 PM

new generation is generally very cowardly. Scared of their own shadows. Especially the ones who have refused to put on a uniform and serve their nation. The MSM is finally being exposed. Good part is, they have a chance here to redeem themselves. I don’t expect it, however.

Darvin Dowdy on February 28, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Let me see if I understand what USA is saying…

The Obama White House threatens reporters ALL THE TIME… Woodward is just upset because he’s not planning on caving.

But we know LOTS of examples of reporters threatened by the WH… we just didn’t tell you because those reporters caved into the threats.

What? It makes sense. If the threats work the WH keeps using them. If we knew of multiple cases, as they claim to; this seems to be a pattern. A pattern indicates a plan that works, doesn’t it?

Was that supposed to make Obama look good?
Was it supposed to make reporters look good?

I guess I was supposed to take away some other message; but I can’t see what it would have been…

gekkobear on February 28, 2013 at 10:51 PM

Imagine, just imagine if some reporters now decided to do their jobs what could come up.
Maybe some of them would start asking about Benghazi.

dverplank on February 28, 2013 at 11:20 PM

It was foolish for woodward to characterize that exchange as a threat when it’s obvious the original emails would eventually come to light and prove he was just making a big fuss about nothing.

But the conservative media has jumped on them, so there’s no backing down now..

triple on March 1, 2013 at 1:33 AM

it’s all a distraction people!!
Smoke & Mirrors!!
We’re fish biting at the first shiney thing we see!!

Welcome to Obamaville.

mmcnamer1 on March 1, 2013 at 7:15 AM

Was anybody here besides me alive in the 70s? Woodward was on a crusade to destroy a presidency and he let nothing stop him until Nixon gave that famous wave in the door of the helicpoter.

Fast forward 39 years and he’s throwing spitballs at the teacher. When the teacher puts him in the corner, half the class rags on the teacher and the other half calls Woodward an idiot for bringing paper to class.

When Bob shows half the energy he possessed in 1973, (and I detested him, Bernstein, Bradlee, Mrs Whats-her-name and the whole crew at the Post) then I will consider giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Mr. Grump on March 1, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Somebody should go some a joint at them.

Observation on March 1, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Comment pages: 1 2