Woodward, almost 70, is Washington’s Reporter Emeritus. His facts stand up to scrutiny. His motivations withstand the test of objectivity. Sperling obviously assumed that Woodward wouldn’t take offense at the suggestion that he not only was wrong but was also endangering his valuable proximity to power.

He assumed, in other words, that Woodward would not do his job. This was an oversight.

This is no tempest in a teapot but rather the leak in the dike. Drip by drip, the Obama administration has demonstrated its intolerance for dissent and its contempt for any who stray from the White House script. Yes, all administrations are sensitive to criticism, and all push back when such criticism is deemed unfair or inaccurate. But no president since Richard Nixon has demonstrated such overt contempt for the messenger. And, thanks to technological advances in social media, Obama has been able to bypass traditional watchdogs as no other president has.

More to the point, the Obama White House is, to put it politely, fudging as it tries to place the onus of the sequester on Congress. And, as has become customary, officials are using the Woodward spat to distract attention. As Woodward put it: “This is the old trick . . . of making the press . . . the issue, rather than what the White House has done here.”