THE GRAPHIC above is from Gawker, with John Wood doing a massive take down of Bob Woodward, who is getting pilloried by the press and established journalists.
The graphic is apt, because Woodward went out on a limb and his colleagues sawed it off.
Wood also goes back over Woodward’s career, including the Watergate tale, which I dissected here. People also shouldn’t forget how Woodward tried to sell one of his books using the whopper that Hillary was headed for a switch with Joe Biden. I quote a State Department and Hillaryland insider in my book on just how accurate that was at the time.
Here’s the key graph of Wood’s piece, with the emails once read painting a wholly different picture than Woodward claimed when he squealed that he’d been threatened.
Original Document: “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today… I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.
Woodward’s Contemporaneous Understanding: “You do not ever have to apologize to me…. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice.”
Woodward’s Subsequent Reporting on the Content of the Document: “It was said very clearly, you will regret doing this… It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters ‘You will regret’ doing something that you believe in.’”
It’s not so much that the White House took out after Woodward in some sort of veiled threat, but that Woodward could think that the email from Gene Sperling was anything close to what he painted it.
The Washington press elite did everything but laugh at Woodward’s assertion. From Dylan Byer’s of Politico, whose post is titled “Press corps to Woodward: Really?”
“I get emails like this almost every hour, whether it’s from the White House or Capitol Hill,” said Chuck Todd, the NBC News political director and senior White House correspondent. “For better or worse, flacks get paid to push back.”
[...] “If this is it, I think many reporters — and I covered the White House for four years — received emails like this,” Fox News host Bret Baier said on Andrea Tantaro’s radio show today. “It was a cordial exchange for the most part, and Sperling is actually apologizing for a heated telephone conversation they had earlier in the day.”
“I’m not saying the White House doesn’t pressure reporters all the time and put the heat on reporters covering the White House. I’ve heard many, many stories that they do,” Baier continued. “But this particular incident and this particular email, I’m not sure that characterizing it as a threat — I think Bob Woodward has a little bit of explaining to do about that characterization.”
Harold Maass, the online executive editor of The Week, likewise noted on Twitter that “the email that scared [Woodward] was sort of cordial.” Outside the Beltway, Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget even wrote a post titled, “Oh, Please, The White House Didn’t ‘Threaten’ Bob Woodward.”
So where did Bob Woodward go last night? He went running to Sean Hannity. Nothing else need be said, because a lot can be said by Hannity, but his number one claim to infamy is that he’s a spokesman for the hard right and the Obama haters.
There should be more conversations about the way the presidents club treats press access, the lack of transparency and access to hard interviews with any presidential administration, but what it turns out that Bob Woodward did does nothing but strengthen the hand of the White House.
As for Bob Woodward’s reputation, the revelations over Deep Throat and the red flag didn’t help, especially when Ben Bradlee admitted his own skepticism, but the last few years has left it in shambles.
UPDATE: Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller wrote “Bob Woodward trolled us (and we got played),” which is representative of the reactions from many conservatives once the verbatim text of the emails between Sperling and Woodward were released. TPM reported some of the conservative tweets.
Erick Erickson ✔ @EWErickson: Ok wow. Finally read the email to Woodward. I must now move to the “not a threat” camp.
Byron York @ByronYork After reading Sperling-Woodward email, it’s nowhere close to a threat. Agree with @mattklewis: People who made big deal of this got played.
Brit Hume ✔ @brithume On one hand, only Woodward can say if he felt threatened by WH email. On the other, hard to imagine feeling threatened by Gene Sperling.
Keith Urbahn @keithurbahn Vintage Woodward: Cherry-pick a friendly exchange, make it sinister & vault himself into the media. Did it with Rummy in State of Denial.