‘A kind of madness I haven’t seen in a long time’

What began as an economic story has ended up a story about the free press and the stand over tactics of the Obama White House.

Bob Woodward said this evening on CNN that a ‘very senior person’ at the White House warned him in an email that he would ‘regret doing this,’ the same day he has continued to slam President Barack Obama over the looming forced cuts known as the sequester.

CNN host Wolf Blitzer said that the network invited a White House official to debate Woodward on-air, but the White House declined.

‘It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, “You’re going to regret doing something that you believe in,”‘ Woodward said.

‘I think they’re confused,’ Woodward said of the White House’s pushback on his reporting.

Earlier today on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe,’ Woodward ripped into Obama in what has become an ongoing feud between the veteran Washington Post journalist and the White House. Woodward said Obama was showing a ‘kind of madness I haven’t seen in a long time’ for a decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf because of budget concerns.

What is unknown is the extent to which this use of threats to suppress bad news is routine in this White House or an anomaly. But it would be odd if the first use of such threats were made to possibly the single most respected mainstream journalist in the United States. More likely is that they have finally found the one person of integrity who would not buckle under such pressure who has instead brought this issue into the light.

How someone of the standing of a Bob Woodward would be made “to regret” publishing his views is an interesting issue in itself. In this instance, he’s told the White House to take a hike. This is not likely to be the end of this particular tale. More hopefully, it is the beginning of the end of the hold the Obama administration has had over the media in the US which will at least now become somewhat more forthcoming about just how dreadful the policies of this presidency have been.

A Graphical Representation of What the Cuts are About:

us budget catastrophic cut

[Thanks to SmallDeadAnimals]

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54 Responses to ‘A kind of madness I haven’t seen in a long time’

  1. twostix

    Not to worry.

    Woodward has already been denounced by the leftist US media as a “rightwing” turncoat and will be unpersoned or meekly withdraw by the end of the week.

    A valuable lesson for him. A frightening lesson for any other mainstream journalist in America, not even the sacred Republican President Killing “Bob Woodward” can go against the current regime on even the weakest, most insignificant matter.

  2. Luke

    I doubt that Steve. The cronyism of Western governments is at new hieghts. Connection to government is now the biggest potential for windfall. Why inovate when there is far more money in having your government connection hand you a special loan, over-priced contract or even just a huge no-strings-attached ‘grant’?

    What will happen is that mediocre journalists will see government connection and favour as a way to improve their standing and power and remove their competition (As will all mediocre business). Scrutiney by the media will be turned on the trouble makers not the government.

    The media are only part of the Obama cult. He still has Hollywood and Academia (and let’s not foget the influence of K-12 teachers indoctrinating future D. voters and dependants).

    I look forward to USA actually becoming, under Obama, the kind of counrty that lefties and Democrats always claimed it would become under Republican Presidents (yet didn’t). When the majority of a country think a 30yo chick having someoneelse pay for her contraceptives is more important than being the brokest nation in history there is no hope USA will wake up before it’s too late.

  3. Mike of Marion

    They will now smear him continuously until he quits

  4. Mike of Marion

    I see parallels here with Conroy’s attempts to muzzle elements of our media

  5. .

    When the majority of a country think a 30yo chick having someoneelse pay for her contraceptives is more important than being the brokest nation in history there is no hope USA will wake up before it’s too late.

    Fuckwits.

    Sic semper stultividus

  6. Jarrah

    Standover tactics are particularly loathsome when coming from the most powerful.

    a “very senior person” at the White House warned him in an email that he would “regret doing this,”

    Regret doing what, exactly?

  7. Bruce

    What difference at this point does it make? Maybe someone should ask ‘Mr’ Richard Windsor this question.

    President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history

    Yes, they are very, very transparent.

  8. blogstrop

    the media in the US which will at least now become somewhat more forthcoming about just how dreadful the policies of this presidency have been.

    Chance would be a fine thing. He may take some skin off them, but the majority won’t – or if they decide to, such a shame it wasn’t before the election.

  9. thefrollickingmole

    I sort of wonder if his line ‘kind of madness I haven’t seen in a long time’ is a sideways reference to Nixon?

    Might be he knows a little more than he is currently reporting?

  10. Ant

    It’s funny hearing these leftie newso types reeling in horror at the thuggish tactics of a president who comes from Chicago.

    For Obama it would be a case of “what thuggish tactics, that’s how we do stuff where I come from.”

    The US has gone and voted itself an imperial president who is now essentially unrestrained by the normal bounds of the US Constitution – which in significant part is a document whose central purpose is to limit the power of government and the executive in particular.

    And now these poor poopies at the Washington Post and CNN are all worked up about it.

    My heart bleeds for them – not!

    If anyone wants to understand what we’re really seeing here in the US I highly recommend listening to syndicated radio host Mark Levin.

    His program from the Feb 26 was simply magnificent. It should be available here: http://www.marklevinshow.com/rss/ilevin.xml

    Go on, give it a listen. You won’t regret it.

    Yes, your classic Leftie would label him a “shock jock”, but IMO he’s so much more than a ratings chasing rightwinger, and he reserves more than a little contempt for the ‘quality’ of Republican representation in the current US Congress – particular the House leadership.

    Australia, regretably, has nobody like him.

  11. The media, blogstrop, are just positioning themselves for the next election. Now the Magic Negro is fully in place along with his agenda, the MSM can say what they want.
    It’s a bit like drinking 10 schooners and driving your car into a kindergarten. No amount of ‘Sorry’ or ‘Why didn’t they make the laws harder and I wouldn’t have driven?’
    Treat the MSM as the treacherous scum they were, are, and will be.

  12. C.L.

    For those who missed it on the OF:

    Pie chart of the fiscal sequester that Soetoro is comparing to a meteor strike.

  13. Rafe

    That looks like a pretty open and transparent threat to me.

    Like Rudd’s warning to business that “we have long memories”.

    Oh well, be grateful that they came first for Andrew Bolt and then the druggies and match fixers and mobsters in sport.

  14. Rafe

    BTW I think the rot started in academic philosophy.

  15. Ellen of Tasmania

    ““The president and (Treasury Secretary Jack) Lew had this wrong,” Woodward penned on Friday. “My extensive reporting for my book ‘The Price of Politics’ shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.”

    Woodward, who is an associate editor at the Post, said the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that are set to begin on Friday are surrounded by “misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management.” The cuts amount to a total of $1.2 trillion over 10 years.”

    Peter Schiff has been playing bits of media coverage of the so-called consequences of the so-called ‘draconian’ sequester. It’s breath-taking in it’s madness – just about everything you can think of is ‘under threat’ from this thing, but the cuts a miniscule in terms of the overall debt. (I understand they aren’t actually spending cuts, but cuts on increases in spending??)

    I think the U.S. is in serious trouble.

  16. twostix

    I see parallels here with Conroy’s attempts to muzzle elements of our media

    Leftists work globally. American leftist incubators such as Move-on.org, etc et-al have a distubingly incestuous relationship both financially and people-wise between Avaaz and GetUp (and dozens of smaller frontgroups created for single issue attacks staffed by the same people). The number of Labor “advisors” and “activists” who go over and “learn” in their organisations is disturbing. That goes doubly for Green activist groups.

    So for example the yank left come up with tactics to silence their “shock jocks” (aka Rush Limbaugh) and suddenly surprise! Our leftists are using exactly the same tactics conjured up Move-on.org with the campaign cynically being run by…key Getup and Avaaz “activists”.

    The yank activist left (and the same groups and individuals come up often across all of these non-issues) comes up with “tricky” ways to silience Rupert Murdoch using broadcast regulation and…surprise! We’re instantly doing the same and our “media enquiry” is flooded with nearly ten thousand “submissions” from Avaaz – a Move-on / GetUp international hybrid.

    The thing is this: American leftists FAIL because of the US constitution and strong institutions preventing them from succeeding. So they push their little missionairies out here, and into small European and South American countries and get us to all do it first.

  17. Token

    Leftists work globally. American leftist incubators such as Move-on.org, etc et-al have a distubingly incestuous relationship both financially and people-wise between Avaaz and GetUp (and dozens of smaller frontgroups created for single issue attacks staffed by the same people).

    Don’t forget how the foundations full of capital which were set up by the giants of industry in prior years (Rockefellar Foundation, Pew Foundation, Henry Ford, etc) are being used an endless pot of cash to finance Lefty insurgency campaigns globally.

  18. Sirocco

    I think Rafe has nailed it. The rot started in academic philosophy…somewhere around the 1970s. The long march through the institutions has now reached its end game. Poor fellow my country.

  19. Louis Hissink

    And Hollywood could produce the movie : “The Madness of President Obama”.

  20. Samuel J

    Or George W. Bush saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to invade Iraq because I can’t get the aircraft carriers I need?’”

    \
    Bush Jr would have lost in Iraq if he didn’t have the aircraft carriers.

    It’s a strange threat. With the budget as it is, not sending an aircraft carrier does save money. But there needs to be real and long-lasting budget cuts to make a dent in the US deficit.

  21. Jim Rose

    Bob Woodward is a true reporter. read his books. he reports events with amazing access. if he has any interpretation of what he sees, he keeps it to himself.

  22. Token

    It’s a strange threat. With the budget as it is, not sending an aircraft carrier does save money. But there needs to be real and long-lasting budget cuts to make a dent in the US deficit.

    Its all about grand standing and hurting the people so they punish his enemies (as he knows everything will be reported through the lense of the hard left in the media).

  23. JamesK

    Obama is not just a leftist, he’s a thoroughgoing jerk.

    What is remarkable is just how thin-skinned he is, given the support and adulation the MSM lavishes on him.

    The MSM could jut as easily be called the state controlled media – a descriptor that Rush Limbaugh has been saying for two decades but heretofore seemed somewhat of an exaggeration to illustrate the lefty bias.

    But no longer.

  24. First comment from Abraham’s Youtube link:

    Obama would get owned in a debate with Thomas Jefferson…………..no literally he would own him.

    I loled.

  25. tbh

    What is remarkable is just how thin-skinned he is, given the support and adulation the MSM lavishes on him.

    A common trait of narcissists, blow hards and petty dictators everywhere I’ve found. Look at how much of a sook Bob Brown turned into when the blowtorch was applied to him.

  26. Tintarella di Luna

    A common trait of narcissists, blow hards and petty dictators everywhere I’ve found. Look at how much of a sook Bob Brown turned into when the blowtorch was applied to him.

    And that other foul-mouthed narcissist – K (i’m here to help) Rudd — words pilfered from a peanut farmer by a bullshipper.

  27. tbh

    And that other foul-mouthed narcissist – K (i’m here to help) Rudd — words pilfered from a peanut farmer by a bullshipper.

    Yes, Mr “We’ve Got Long Memories”. Dickhead.

  28. .

    Obama would get owned in a debate with Thomas Jefferson…………..no literally he would own him.

    LOL…he’d probably also have a crack at Michelle.

  29. Jim Rose

    academic philosophy…somewhere around the 1970s

    The politics of academia drifted left for reasons explained by Hayek in intellectuals and socialism.

    Up until the 1960s, universities were small in number of students and graduate opportunities were rather limited outside of the professions and teaching.

    The expansion of jobs for graduates from the 1970s in increased the occupational choices to people more disposed to the market.

    see http://www.aei.org/files/2005/02/14/200502141_klein.pdf showing that in the hard sciences, there were 159 democrats and 16 republicans at Berkley. Similar at Stanford. No registered republicans in the sociology department and one each in the history and music departments. For UC-Berkeley, an overall Democrat: Republican ratio of 9.9:1. For Stanford, an overall D:R ratio of 7.6:1.

    The left-wing bias of universities is no surprise in light of Hayek’s analysis of intellectuals in light of opportunities available to people of varying talents:
    • intelligent people who favour the market tend to find opportunities for professional and financial success outside the Academy in the business or professional world; and
    • Those who are intelligent but ill-disposed toward the market are more likely to choose an academic career.

    This also leads to the phenomenon that academics don’t know much about how markets work, since they have so little experience with them.

    Schumpeter explained in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, it is “the absence of direct responsibility for practical affairs” that distinguishes the academic intellectual from others “who wield the power of the spoken and the written word.”

  30. Jim Rose

    Narcissists typically display most of the following:

    an obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
    Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
    A lack of psychological awareness
    Difficulty with empathy
    Problems distinguishing the self from others (see narcissism and boundaries)
    Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults
    Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
    flattery towards people who admire and affirm them Detesting those who do not admire them
    Using other people without considering the cost of doing so
    Pretending to be more important than they really are
    Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements
    Claiming to be an “expert” at many things
    Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
    Denial of remorse and gratitude

    from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism

    a long-winded definition of a selfish bastard

  31. Bruce

    For UC-Berkeley, an overall Democrat: Republican ratio of 9.9:1. For Stanford, an overall D:R ratio of 7.6:1

    UC Boulder today:

    I learn something new every day “2008 survey [of] 825 faculty members at Boulder only 23 were registered Republicans”

    Nothing is changing. The Left wins the professorial positions then recruits more tribe members. Same happens in the public service. Less so in companies since each recession there is a night of the long knives cull, and the dead wood gets shown the exit.

  32. Eyrie

    twostix,
    we also had cash for clunkers, education revolution and nationwide broadband – just as Obama is doing. This seems to be more than co-incidence.

  33. Bruce

    This seems to be more than co-incidence

    Yes, they do seem to get along rather well. Peas in a pod. Any one know if Obama is a Fabian too? Or just a Manchurian Fabian?

  34. Token

    LOL…he’d probably also have a crack at Michelle.

    LOL, no he wouldn’t, Michelle is no Sally Hemings.

  35. Token

    This also leads to the phenomenon that academics don’t know much about how markets work, since they have so little experience with them.

    Schumpeter explained in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, it is “the absence of direct responsibility for practical affairs” that distinguishes the academic intellectual from others “who wield the power of the spoken and the written word.”

    2 academics have been elected President of the US – the KKK Patron Wilson & the Sun King.

  36. Louis Hissink

    Manchurian Fabian – I like that handle :-) Hmmm.

  37. Louis Hissink

    Forgot to add the suspicion that Abbott and Turnbull could be Manchurian F’s; both are Rhodes Scholars.

  38. Jim Rose

    Token, it is also unusual to elect senators as president.

    JFK knew this and that was why he was a do nothing senator.

    the more laws you pass, the more enemies you accumulate while the beneficiaries of those many laws are only interested in what have you done for me lately.

  39. Adrien

    I’m reminded of a hypochondriac who, finding a zit on his nose, starts screaming that’s gonna die of cancer. Here’s Woodward:

    “Under the Constitution, the President is commander-in-chief and employs the force. And so we now have the President going out because of this piece of paper and this agreement. ‘I can’t do what I need to do to protect the country,’”

    So reducing the number of aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf from two to one is ‘failing to protect a country on the other side of the planet?

    Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying, ‘Oh, by the way, I can’t do this because of some budget document?’”

    No. And perhaps if he had then the US would still be a creditor nation.

    Mr Woodward’s having a little spat with Mr Obama and it’s being spun up into somethin’ shockin’!! How sad to see the degeneration of the Fourth Estate from the guardian of the people against the ravages of corruption into a 24/7 junk food revolving smorgasbord. So Woodward makes a bid deal out of not very much and Obama’s henchmen retaliate with something even more facile. This is news?

    For all you boppers out there in the big city, all you street people with an ear for the action, I’ve been asked to relay a request from the Grammercy Riffs. It’s a special for the Republicans, that real live bunch from Phoney, and I do mean the Republicans.

    Here’s a hit with them in mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE-U5e78WHc

  40. C.L.

    This is news?

    Given that Soetoro has already arrested a film-maker to cover up the death of the US ambassador to Libya, yeah – it’s news when this affirmative action crybaby threatens the most respected and storied journalist in modern American history.

  41. JamesK

    So reducing the number of aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf from two to one is ‘failing to protect a country on the other side of the planet?

    They have been deployed to ensure the Strait of Hormuz remains open to naval traffic.

    Something for which much of the world benefits gratis the US taxpayer.

    Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the strategic waterway, which is the transit route for about a fifth of the world’s oil supply, in retaliation for Western-led UN sanctions which increased in severity under Hilary Clinton.

    You are an idiot Adrien.

    But we all know that.

  42. wreckage

    I’m reminded of a hypochondriac who, finding a zit on his nose, starts screaming that’s gonna die of cancer. Here’s Woodward:

    If the White House is phoning journos and telling them to shut up or “regret it”, then it’s cancer.

  43. Bruce

    More on the “Obama thugocracy” in the UK Telegraph this morning:

    A nasty, brutish, imperial presidency

  44. Threat? Standover tactics? Thuggish?
    If it was, it would be: but it isn’t so it ain’t.

    There was absolutely no discernible threat in the exchange Woodward refers to. Specifically,

    Bob:

    I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.

    But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.) I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is diffferent. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.

    My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.

    Gene

    and for those of you who would be prepared to follow the wingnut line regardless – to imagine, say, these lines being intoned while Gene in a black suit and sunglasses toys with a shiv or enclosing a map of where Woodward’s grandchildren go to school – this is what Bob Blowhard himself said about it in response;

    –From: Bob Woodward … To: Gene Sperling … Feb. 23, 7:23 a.m.: Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today.

    Best,

    Bob

    Sent from my iPhone

    I hope you’re all ashamed of yourself.

  45. .

    Chris B

    The Government pressuring journalists to print stories or not with veiled threats is never acceptable.

    I hope you’re all ashamed of yourself.

    I hope you realise you’re a fascist cretin.

    Fuck off.

  46. JamesK

    Threat? Standover tactics? Thuggish?

    Yes, yes and yes you stupid illiberal fuckwit

  47. Bruce

    Chris – On further reading you are correct, but with caveats. This piece by Paul Mirengoff covers it pretty well. So I would maintain the “thugocracy” comment is accurate, but not in respect of Mr Woodward’s specific experience.

    Mr Obama’s administration does seem to surpass even Nanny Roxon for hypocritical behaviour in respect of ‘transparency and openness’ etc.

  48. C.L.

    DRUDGE headlines say it all about the state-run media:

    WHITE HOUSE THREATENS WOODWARD: ‘YOU WILL REGRET DOING THIS’…

    Watergate reporter blasts Obama ‘madness’…

    Will Washington Stand Up for Veteran Journo?

    Plouffe: He’s getting old…

    Press turns — on Woodward!

    Andrew Sullivan: Woodward ‘a liar’…

    Yes, the HIV-positive wacko, Andrew Sullivan – who still insists Sarah Palin faked a pregnancy by wearing a rubber suit – says Woodward is a liar.

  49. twostix

    He was fairly successful over a number of years because Australia is also as a nation mean and vindictive. I don’t think you could say he ever deceived us, except where we went out of our way to be deceived. He never pretended to be remotely nice.

    Well, well, well.

    ChrisB is not going to have a good time of it once Abbott gets in.

  50. C.L.

    For mean and vindictive, nothing in this country’s history compares to Julia Gillard getting 1100 brown people killed because she wanted to show up John Howard.

    Because she hates him.

    Or a 19 year-old intellectually disabled man dying from heat exhaustion on his first day of work while trying to install Rudd and Gillard’s pink batts.

    (An endeavour that burned down 200 houses and killed three other men).

  51. Bruce

    Truthtold – It would be easier on all our eyes if you could turn off the caps.

    But the bit from Chris’s blog was pure ROFL.

  52. Adrien

    If the White House is phoning journos and telling them to shut up or “regret it”, then it’s cancer.

    I agree. The disease is in an advanced state.

  53. Adrien

    Ah it’s Jimmy Kay, the paragon of sagacity, the sapient sage.

    They have been deployed to ensure the Strait of Hormuz remains open to naval traffic.

    Aw rilly? Ya don’t say Jimmy. Why of why hasn’t the depart of defense offered you hundreds of money to put the world to rights.

    Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the strategic waterway, which is the transit route for about a fifth of the world’s oil supply.

    Aw rilly? Have they just? And how long have they wanted to do that Jimmy? And why haven’t they? Because they can’t that’s why. Obama takes one carrier out of the gulf and you guys act like he’s scuttled the entire 5th fleet.

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