Journalist Bob Woodward has been making the rounds claiming he was “threatened” by the White House, because he was told (by Gene Sperling) that he would “regret” his claim that President Obama’s had “move the goalposts” in negotiations with Congress. But now that Politico has released full emails, one can see there was no “threat.”
Here’s how the “threatening” email starts off:
From Gene Sperling to Bob Woodward on Feb. 22, 2013
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.
So, the “threatening” email began with an apology. Then, the “threat”:
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.
Then, more apologizing:
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.
And Woodward’s response to the “threatening” email:
Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today. Best, Bob
And that is why Matt K. Lewis at The Daily Caller headlined with, “Bob Woodward trolled us (and we got played)”.
Predictably, conservatives latched onto this, as it confirmed our suspicion about the Obama Administration’s “Chicago-style” of politics. A lot of mainstream journalists bought into this, too — reflexively believing anything the great Bob Woodward says.
Of course, Woodward (who was expert at trolling for publicity before the internet even existed), benefits greatly from the publicity (nothing sells books like controversy)…
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.