Whether or not you think the emails to Bob Woodward amounted to a "threat" from the Obama White House, one thing is certain: this wouldn't be the first time the president has tried to use pressure on reporters to shape their reporting.
Reason's Mike Riggs recalls some of the Obama administration's most notoriously thin-skinned moments:
- There was the time the White House banned a San Francisco Chroniclereporter from the White House press pool for filming an anti-Obama protest at a fundraiser. The White House initially claimed it banned the reporter for using a camera when she was only allowed to write what she saw. Then the White House claimed it hadn't banned her at all. All very confusing and weird.
- There was the time the White House prohibited local journalists from covering a Silicon Valley fundraiser, presumably for fear that they'd be better equipped than D.C.-based pool reporters to recognize major players in the California tech scene.
- There was the time the White House denied the Boston Herald a spot in the press pool because it ran a front-page op-ed from Mitt Romney. While the White House later claimed the Boston Globe got the pool spot because it submitted its request first, that explanation doesn't jibe with this email from a White House staffer: "I tend to consider the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly in determining local pool reporters." Loyalty has its rewards!
- There was the time an Orlando Sentinel reporter was made to sit in a closet at a fundraiser for Joe Biden.
Click here for more examples.
What has struck me most about the whole Woodward/threat scenario is how quickly the liberal left has been to throw Woodward under the bus. I don't recall HuffPo labeling the esteemed journalist as a "drama king" when he questioned George W. Bush's war strategy...
The super un-biased Paul Krugman of the New York Timespiles on the criticism of Woodward:
So, after reading the Bob Woodward saga of the alleged “threat” from Gene Sperling, the White House supereconwonk, I went through my own correspondence with Gene, and couldn’t find anything threatening — although I guess you could read his injunction, at one point, to “take care” in an ominous tone of voice.
Hey, don’t I rate some proper intimidation?
But then, Woodward’s story is looking supremely silly too. Can Robert Redford unportray him, or star in a sequel titled “All the president’s crybabies”?
Dearest Krug, the White House might intimidate or threaten you -- that is, if you ever bothered to disagree with them on something.