By Greg Campbell
In recent months, the Obama Administration has been scrutinized with a varying level of intensity over their relationship with the media. As it has often been said that the mainstream media has a decidedly liberal bias, it is puzzling to find that in recent months the relationship has become somewhat strained as the Obama campaign machine has begun to shut-out media outlets and have opted for a more direct line of communication of their talking points to the American people.
The White House has vehemently pushed several controversial talking points in recent months; President Obama and Vice President Biden have been touring the country at various points to try and drum up support for stricter anti-gun rights laws. They have also reached out via social networking sites such as Facebook and have also utilized direct email fundraising.
In addition to the gun control agenda, the Obama Administration has worked to drum up opposition to the scheduled spending cuts- known as the sequester cuts- which Obama proposed to secure an additional $2.4 trillion in borrowing power in 2011.
However, the media has been inconvenienced with the fact that despite Obama’s assertions that the sequester cuts would cause a budgetary catastrophe and that the cuts are Republicans’ idea, neither assertion is true.
The Obama Administration has responded by avoiding the media and excluding them when they are unlikely to report his narrative. Earlier this week, Obama took issue with tough questions that have been asked regarding the sequester cuts and asked that they “clear out the press so we can take some questions” from other non-press attendees of his press conference.
Going more and more directly to the people to spread his take on issues, Obama has begun to bully members of the press. However, the Obama Administration may have recently upturned the apple cart as they have worked to halt the criticism by Bob Woodward, one half of the duo of journalists who took down a sitting president.
Woodward has joined the chorus of journalists who have criticized Obama’s version of events concerning the sequester cuts. In his piece for the Washington Post, the venerated and slightly left journalist accused the Obama Administration of moving the goal post further and further on the cuts and noted that the origin for the idea in the first place was Obama.
After calling a “senior White House official” to notify them that his latest piece will criticize the president’s narrative, Woodward claimed that the official, “yelled at me for about a half hour.” The tirade was followed up by an email where the official offered a thinly-veiled threat by writing,
“I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. You’re focusing on a few specific trees that give a very wrong impression of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here. … I think you will regret staking out that claim.”
Woodward, a veteran of the older era of journalists, noted,
“They have to be willing to live in the world where they’re challenged. I’ve tangled with lots of these people. But suppose there’s a young reporter who’s only had a couple of years — or 10 years’ — experience and the White House is sending him an email saying, “You’re going to regret this.” You know, tremble, tremble. I don’t think it’s the way to operate.”
Despite the White House’s claim that no threat was intended, the White House has begun to try and discredit the journalist who was half of the team that took down Nixon. White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe took to Twitter to try and discredit the journalist, writing,
“Watching Woodward last 2 days is like imagining my idol Mike Schmidt facing live pitching again. Perfection gained once is rarely repeated.”
As the Obama Administration continues to try and bully media figures who do not dutifully report their talking points, they are likely to continue to earn the ire of journalists take issue with such tactics.