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Muso
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ron Fournier too

Quote:
Why Bob Woodward's Fight With The White House Matters to You
And why I iced a senior Obama White House official.


The fight between the White House and journalistic legend Bob Woodward is a silly distraction to a major problem: The failure of President Obama and House Republicans to lead the country under a budget deadline.

Woodward-gate is a distraction the White House welcomed, even encouraged, as part of a public-relations strategy to emasculate the GOP and anybody else who challenges Obama. It is a distraction that briefly enveloped my reporting last weekend, when I essentially broke ties with a senior White House official.

Yes, I iced a source– and my only regret is I didn’t do it sooner. I decided to share this encounter because it might shed light on the increasingly toxic relationship between media and government, which is why the Woodward flap matters outside the Beltway.

On Saturday, White House press secretary Jay Carney accused Woodward of being “willfully wrong” on a story holding the White House accountable for its part in a legislative gimmick called sequestration. (Months ago, the GOP-controlled House passed, and Obama signed, legislation imposing $1.2 trillion in cuts unless an alternative is found by Friday.)

Carney isn’t the first press secretary to criticize a reporter. Presidential aides do it all the time to set the record straight or -- often, more cynically -- to dodge accountability. I was struck by the fact that Carney’s target has a particular history with White House attacks. I tweeted: “Obama White House: Woodward is ‘willfully wrong.' Huh-what did Nixon White House have to say about Woodward?”

Reporting by Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered Watergate misdeeds and led to the resignation of President Nixon. My tweet was not intended to compare Nixon to Obama (there is no reason to doubt Obama’s integrity -- period) but rather to compare the attack to the press strategies of all the presidents’ men.

I had angered the White House, particularly a senior White House official who I am unable to identify because I promised the person anonymity. Going back to my first political beat, covering Bill Clinton’s administration in Arkansas and later in Washington, I’ve had a practice that is fairly common in journalism: A handful of sources I deal with regularly are granted blanket anonymity. Any time we communicate, they know I am prepared to report the information at will (matters of fact, not spin or opinion) and that I will not attribute it to them.

This is an important way to build a transparent and productive relationship between reporters and the people they cover. Nothing chills a conversation faster than saying, “I’m quoting you on this.”

The official angered by my Woodward tweet sent me an indignant e-mail. “What’s next, a Nazi analogy?” the official wrote, chastising me for spreading “bull**** like that” I was not offended by the note, mild in comparison to past exchanges with this official. But it was the last straw in a relationship that had deteriorated.

As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Politico characterized as a veiled threat. “You will regret staking out that claim,” The Washington Post reporter was told.

Once I moved back to daily reporting this year, the badgering intensified. I wrote Saturday night, asking the official to stop e-mailing me. The official wrote, challenging Woodward and my tweet. “Get off your high horse and assess the facts, Ron,” the official wrote.
I wrote back:
“I asked you to stop e-mailing me. All future e-mails from you will be on the record -- publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you. My cell-phone number is … . If you should decide you have anything constructive to share, you can try to reach me by phone. All of our conversations will also be on the record, publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you.”

I haven’t heard back from the official. It was a step not taken lightly because the note essentially ended our working relationship. Without the cloak of anonymity, government officials can’t be as open with reporters – they can’t reveal as much information and they can’t explain the nuance and context driving major events.

I changed the rules of our relationship, first, because it was a waste of my time (and the official’s government-funded salary) to engage in abusive conversations. Second, I didn’t want to condone behavior that might intimidate less-experienced reporters, a reaction I personally witnessed in journalists covering the Obama administration.

That gets to why this matters beyond the incestuous Washington culture. One of this country’s most important traditions is “a free press that isn’t afraid to ask questions, to examine and to criticize,” Obama said at the 2012 White House Correspondents Association’s annual dinner.

Because of tech-fueled changes in the market, there are fewer reporters doing more work with less experience than when I came to Washington with Clinton in 1993. Also, the standard relationship between reporters and their sources is more combative, a reflection of polarization in Washington and within the media industry.

Personally, I had a great relationship with Clinton’s communications team, less so with President Bush's press shop, and now -- for the first time in my career -- I told a public servant to essentially buzz off.

This can’t be what Obama wants. He must not know how thin-skinned and close-minded his staff can be to criticism. “I have the greatest respect and admiration for what you do,” Obama told reporters a year ago. “I know sometimes you like to give me a hard time, and I certainly like to return the favor, but I never forget that our country depends on you.”


I lol'd at this guy's assertion that Obama has integrity.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
richk449 wrote:
Oh my god, Obama is mad. Doesn't he know that starting wars, regardless of cost, is the primary purpose of a US president?

We know what he was talking about, though. Obama is running around threatening to shut down all the most vital services any given audience cares about, if he is forced to follow through with what he himself agreed to, as though there are no other ways to reduce Federal outlays.

For example, yesterday he claimed he would be forced to let all the illegal immigrants out of jail to run amok rather than be deported. Everybody is laughing or shaking their heads about this asshattery, even Rachel Maddow.

It's $85 billion out of what last year was a total of $3.7 Trillion in Federal outlays (over $2.5 Trillion in revenue). This is not some kind of insanity; this is not even a tourniquet that will stop the bleeding. This isn't even a finger in the dike.

Obama's antics are an absurd red herring to create the impression that there's something wrong with even attempting to make a token gesture at fiscal restraint (which is all this sequester amounts to). How dare anyone try to force him to show even the slightest restraint or reduce, as he has consistently promised, his annual Trillion Dollar Deficit?!

The asshattery and Orwellian illusion-mongering is the "madness".

As far as I know, the law is written in such a way that there is no discretion for how the cuts are implemented. It requires equal spending cuts in every program and service, at every level. It was written this way in order to make the cuts so painful that the politicians would have to pass a better bill. Of course, they didn't. So the problem is not necessarily the level of cuts, but they way they are required to occur.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
For the humans, the so-called "truth" and so-called "facts" revolve around whatever reinforces their Messiah worship.

FTFY
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for Woodward, none of this seems out of character. He has always been a "relationship" type of writer. He relies heavily on access to write his stories, and most recent administrations have given him good access, and he has repaid them by writing positively about them. My guess is that the Obama administration stupidly didn't give him the same level of access, and so he is repaying them by writing nasty stories.

It is not as if Woodward has changed allegiance; he was always allied with whoever would give him inside information.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
richk449 wrote:
Oh my god, Obama is mad. Doesn't he know that starting wars, regardless of cost, is the primary purpose of a US president?

We know what he was talking about, though. Obama is running around threatening to shut down all the most vital services any given audience cares about, if he is forced to follow through with what he himself agreed to, as though there are no other ways to reduce Federal outlays.

For example, yesterday he claimed he would be forced to let all the illegal immigrants out of jail to run amok rather than be deported. Everybody is laughing or shaking their heads about this asshattery, even Rachel Maddow.

It's $85 billion out of what last year was a total of $3.7 Trillion in Federal outlays (over $2.5 Trillion in revenue). This is not some kind of insanity; this is not even a tourniquet that will stop the bleeding. This isn't even a finger in the dike.

Obama's antics are an absurd red herring to create the impression that there's something wrong with even attempting to make a token gesture at fiscal restraint (which is all this sequester amounts to). How dare anyone try to force him to show even the slightest restraint or reduce, as he has consistently promised, his annual Trillion Dollar Deficit?!

The asshattery and Orwellian illusion-mongering is the "madness".

As far as I know, the law is written in such a way that there is no discretion for how the cuts are implemented. It requires equal spending cuts in every program and service, at every level. It was written this way in order to make the cuts so painful that the politicians would have to pass a better bill. Of course, they didn't. So the problem is not necessarily the level of cuts, but they way they are required to occur.

What cuts?

Even with sequestration, the Feds will spend more this fiscal year than last.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's an inconvenient truth, which means it's not a fact. Your problem, Old School, is therefore that you don't live in a fact-based reality.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
As far as I know, the law is written in such a way that there is no discretion for how the cuts are implemented. It requires equal spending cuts in every program and service, at every level. It was written this way in order to make the cuts so painful that the politicians would have to pass a better bill. Of course, they didn't. So the problem is not necessarily the level of cuts, but they way they are required to occur.

Exactly, but instead of returning to the table and negotiating the cuts he is willing to make, Obama is trying to get out of it altogether, but being a fear-mongering demagogue. Instead of working on the problem in Washington, he's travelling around the country scaring the ignorant into (he hopes) pressuring legislators to drop the cuts altogether.

He's playing chicken again. Tell me this. If you were riding down the highway in the passenger seat of a car, and the driver looked over at you said, with a crazed look in his eye, "Suck my dick, or I'll wreck it!", and then swerved toward the ditch to prove he meant it, what would you do?
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
My guess is that the Obama administration stupidly didn't give him the same level of access, and so he is repaying them by writing nasty stories.


Really? The Obama administration has threatened three different (left of center even) reporters and you see this as Woodward just giving the Obama administration payback?

And those three are just the ones who have gone public. Obama makes Nixon look like a saint.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Muso wrote:
Indeed. It's amazing to watch what cultists they've become.

++
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
My guess is that the Obama administration stupidly didn't give him the same level of access, and so he is repaying them by writing nasty stories.

Given a choice whether to believe Bob Woodward or the Obama Ministry of Truth, you'll forgive me if I go with Bob Woodward. Anybody who doesn't has become a zombie and just doesn't know it yet.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Muso wrote:
I lol'd at this guy's assertion that Obama has integrity.
I still find it amazing that after all he's done, most of the media has fallen so far as to have zero integrity. Fast & Furious seems to have been killed off.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Muso wrote:
richk449 wrote:
My guess is that the Obama administration stupidly didn't give him the same level of access, and so he is repaying them by writing nasty stories.


Really? The Obama administration has threatened three different (left of center even) reporters and you see this as Woodward just giving the Obama administration payback?

I don't doubt that the white house is full of sleazy operators who ought to be hung by their toes, but I am just saying that the position that Woodward is taking probably has more to do with what level of access he was granted than any objective criteria.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
richk449 wrote:
My guess is that the Obama administration stupidly didn't give him the same level of access, and so he is repaying them by writing nasty stories.

Given a choice whether to believe Bob Woodward or the Obama Ministry of Truth, you'll forgive me if I go with Bob Woodward. Anybody who doesn't has become a zombie and just doesn't know it yet.

Luckily, we are not faced with that choice. I believe neither.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
He's playing chicken again.

Of course he is. So are the republicans. Both sides are strongly, almost religiously, committed to their side, and are willing to play chicken to get what they want.

In the short term, we will be better off if one of the two sides caves (whichever side it is). In the long term, we will be better off if we have a government run by people who are not willing to play chicken in the first place.

I really don't think that the current deficit is a big enough problem to warrant this stand. However, I do think that long term government spending is an issue that a stand needs to be made on, and I also understand that limiting spending by future politicians is very hard (hence the GOP making a stand on current spending).
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woodward is right: Obama needs to nut up and break the law like all those other presidents did. For presidents, being a criminal is now literally in the job description.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The left's attempted assassination of Woodward's character kicks into high gear : The New Yorker's Smear Job
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Political Cartoon
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
Political Cartoon
lol
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 wrote:
I really don't think that the current deficit is a big enough problem to warrant this stand.

You think borrowing one-third of the money you spend year after year after year is "not a big problem"? Do you believe what is happening to Greece can't happen to us? (And Greece has the whole Eurozone to fall back on, whereas we've got... China.)
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greece didn't even have a printing press. We do.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
Tell me this. If you were riding down the highway in the passenger seat of a car, and the driver looked over at you said, with a crazed look in his eye, "Suck my dick, or I'll wreck it!", and then swerved toward the ditch to prove he meant it, what would you do?


Shove him out of the car.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

richk449 is still thinking it over
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
richk449 is still thinking it over


mcgruff thinks you should just perform the act, because my way results in loss of life while his way only results in you having to go through years of counseling and therapy.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcgruff would say it's your fault for not having done it before you left and you got paid not to by the Koch brothers
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bogamol wrote:
BoneKracker wrote:
richk449 is still thinking it over


mcgruff thinks you should just perform the act, because my way results in loss of life while his way only results in you having to go through years of counseling and therapy.


++ & ++
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