In the wake of last week’s brouhaha between journalistic legend Bob Woodward and the Obama White House, other reporters have come forward to talk about their own experiences with the controlling and sometimes abusive administration.
Maureen Callahan of The New York Post talked to a number of reporters – some on the record – and some off, and they had interesting stories to tell.
“I had a young reporter asking tough, important questions of an Obama
Cabinet secretary,” says one DC veteran. “She was doing her job, and
they were trying to bully her. In an e-mail, they called her the vilest
names — bitch, c–t, a–hole.” He complained and was told the matter
would be investigated: “They were hemming and hawing, saying, ‘We’ll
look into it.’ Nothing happened.”
The DC veteran ended up doing the same thing Ron Fournier finally did to stop the abusive emails and telephone calls he was receiving from his WH contact – he threatened to put it on the record.
He wound up confronting the author of the e-mail directly. “I said,
‘From now on, every e-mail you send this reporter will be on the record,
and you will be speaking on behalf of the president of the United
States.’ That shut it down.”
What kind of Stockholm Syndrome-like relationship do some of these reporters have with this White House? How can they be treated with such disrespect and contempt, and still remain loyal sycophants?
Case in point: Jonathan Alter:
Even Jonathan Alter — who frequently appears on the Obama-friendly
MSNBC — came forward to say he, too, had been treated horribly by the
administration for writing something they didn’t like.
“There is a
kind of threatening tone that, from time to time — not all the time —
comes out of these guys,” Alter said this week. During the 2008 campaign
swing through Berlin, Alter said that future White House press
secretary Robert Gibbs disinvited him from a dinner between Obama and
the press corps over it.
“I was told ‘Don’t come,’ in a fairly
abusive e-mail,” he said. “[It] made what Gene Sperling wrote [to
Woodward] look like patty-cake.”
That didn’t stop Alter from beclowning himself in October 2011 with his slobbering and over the top Bloomberg piece: Obama Miracle is White House Free of Scandal:
President Barack Obama goes into the 2012 with a weak
economy that may doom his reelection. But he has one asset that hasn’t
received much attention: He’s honest. (emphasis mine.)
Stop laughing – it gets better:
…the president’s Teflon is intriguing. How did we end up in such a scandal-less state?
After investigating the question for a recent Washington Monthly
article, I’ve been developing some theories. For starters, the tone is
always set at the top. Obama puts a premium on personal integrity, and
with a few exceptions…
That was after Dealergate, DOJ Black Panther whitewash, the Obamafication of NEA art, the Sestak affair, the politically expedient IG Gerald Walpin firing, misspent Porkulous funds, the DOJ’s secret astroturf propaganda unit, the Shorebank scandal, oilgate, Blagojevich Rezko Obama corruption, his unaccountable Communist czars, Fast and Furious, The Gibson Guitar Raid, Solyndra and LightSquared.
There were 1642 comments to to that piece – almost all of them scathing.
To me, it’s slightly scandalous that members of an administration would attempt to threaten or intimidate reporters who write things they don’t like. But as I noted in my piece about Alter’s ridiculous Bloomberg column, the reason the administration appears “scandal-less” is because so many reporters refuse to report on the scandals!