Published March 01, 2013
Former hoops star Dennis Rodman is on a diplomatic mission to North Korea and Watergate legend Bob Woodward is being defended by Republicans for his reporting.
Maybe the Mayans were right after all.
The stranger of the two is Woodward’s new-found star status with the right and his persona non grata status with the left.
It was all Woodward’s fault. He committed apostasy, not once, but twice.
He called out Obama’s lie about the sequester and reminded the world the whole ridiculous plan had been the president’s idea. Then, when the White House gave him heat, he told Politico that they had threatened him, though he never used the “T” word.
That “threat” came in email form after a 30-minute yell fest from White House economic adviser Gene Sperling.
Many in the media have said Woodward overreacted.
Former Obama adviser David Plouffe set in motion a Woodward is over-the-hill theme: “Watching Woodward last 2 days is like imagining my idol Mike Schmidt facing live pitching again. Perfection gained once is rarely repeated,” he Tweeted. (Yes, only Obama is allowed to be perfect more than once.)
The result was a social media feeding frenzy, followed by enormous coverage on the left and the right with Woodward even appearing on “Hannity.”
The broadcast networks talked about the controversy in their morning shows, but were completely silent the following evening, less than 24 hours later. -- It was hardly the way old style media have treated big news from Woodward in the past.
Even the morning show coverage was less than stellar.
“Today” gave the story just 16 seconds out of the 14,400 it had available on February 28.
CBS “This Morning” did a bit better and noted Woodward was “accusing the White House of threatening him.”
At least ABC treated it seriously, with ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl mentioning Woodward’s importance. “Woodward isn't just any reporter. He's the one portrayed, along with Carl Bernstein, in the movie ‘All the President's Men’ as taking down Richard Nixon.” Karl also included the White House “threat.”
None of this is new – neither the actions of the administration or the media under-reaction.
The Obama administration has intimidated journalists since before it won in 2008. Intimidation, harassment and lack of access have been tools it’s used all along. But when the lefty icon of D.C. political journalism is the victim, it sets the gab-osphere aflame.
Liberal talking heads targeted the long-time journalistic celeb as only a betrayed lover could.
MSNBC host Ed Schultz called Woodward’s actions “a total failure by a legendary journalist” and Woodward himself “nothing but a drama queen.”
MSNBC goofball Internationalist Martin Bashir dug deep for a metaphor. “I’m actually reminded of that British parliamentarian who, when he was attacked by Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe, described it as the equivalent of being ravaged by a dead sheep.” (It was vintage MSNBC. There aren’t enough viewers for that to have to make sense.)
“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski made fun of Woodward during the left’s favorite morning show, asking: “is he really afraid of a little aide who said that to him? Really?”
The liberal outlet Huffington Post, which operates like a voice of the administration, was quick to dismiss someone the left used to love. “Bob Woodward Emails Show White House 'Threat' Was Not So Threatening,” read one headline. After Woodward appeared on “Hannity” on February 28, the site called it “Fox & Friend.” (In the lefty world, being friends to Fox is a mortal sin.)
CNN’s John Avlon was just as dismissive, he was just on a theoretically neutral network. “This is Bob Woodward who fought with the Nixon White House? I mean Chuck Colson and H.R. Haldeman would be ashamed to see Gene Sperling not come at Bob with anything stronger than that.”
Even The Washington Post, which has prospered about four decades on Woodward scoops, made light of the battle, saying, “only in Washington does the back and forth between a legendary journalist and a White House wonk turn into an epic talking-head fest and trending Twitter topic.” An Alexandra Petri column on “How to Threaten Bob Woodward” actually included a color-coded graphic of “The General Scale of Threateningness” with the Sperling quote listed under the “Mickey Mouse” category.
Once more, the media are choosing to bury a major issue in garbage, rather than address it.
Woodward was just the latest example of an administration that has run roughshod over a press that caters to its every whim. If Obama was the head of a political party whose name began with an R instead of a D, the American media would have declared war on him years ago.
Instead it’s the reverse.
The liberal press adore Obama no matter how poorly he treats them. And anyone in the media – from CNBC stars Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer to Matt Drudge and, yes, Woodward – gets targeted if they dare challenge our thin-skinned overlord.