Obama's White House: Hostile Work Environment for Reporters

Obama's White House: Hostile Work Environment for Reporters

Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter says Robert Gibbs sent him a “threatening email” in 2008 after he wrote an article critical of Barack Obama.  

There is a kind of a threatening tone that from time to time, not all the time, but comes out of these guys in this White House, but that doesn’t excuse it. And, you know, they should not play that way, but they, they feel like they’re holding the cards in the relationship. They’ve got people’s access, you know, to hold over them.

David Brody, reporter for the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN), revealed this morning on Fox and Friends that he, too was the recipient of bullying, intimidating behavior from the Obama White House.  

What started as just some verbal frustration from the White House that I would even want a reason about this story turned into a full-fledged shouting match on the phone with some choice words, shall we say, and it escalated from there. 

National Journal’s Ron Fournier describes “vulgarity, abusive language” in several e-mails from the Obama White House.  

As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Politico characterized as a veiled threat. ‘You will regret staking out that claim,’ The Washington Post reporter was told.

Once I moved back to daily reporting this year, the badgering intensified. I wrote Saturday night, asking the official to stop e-mailing me. The official wrote, challenging Woodward and my tweet. ‘Get off your high horse and assess the facts, Ron,’ the official wrote.”

As the drip, drip, drip of stories continues to come to light, at what point will the White House be held accountable for the behavior that would constitute a hostile work environment in any other business circumstance?  

In Obama’s America, workers can sue their employer if they are subjected to a hostile work environment. Can you imagine the litigious field day trial lawyers would have with a paper trail showing a pattern of behavior like this one?  I know that in my work place I can’t send continuous, abusive e-mails to people with whom I work.  I can’t use the kind of vulgarity and bullying tactics as described by these reporters.  

So, when does the White House Human Resources office start investigating the employees accused of this behavior?  Or, perhaps, when does a reporter ask their employer to intervene and proactively get this behavior to stop? 

The White House is a hostile work environment, and the CEO has set the tone since day one.  Will anyone call him on it?  Anyone?