From Chrysler creditors (see my column today) to liberal Ron Fournier to conservative National Review, the testimonials continue to come corroborating Bob Woodward’s account of a White House culture of intimidation.
Detroit native – and former Washington AP bureau chief – Fournier is a veteran member of Washington’s media establishment. Yet, like Woodward, he is stunned by the Chicago Way tactics of the Obama administration.
After White House spokes-pitbull Jay Carney accused Woodward of being “willfully wrong” in exposing the White House sequestration fib, “I was struck by the fact that Carney’s target has a particular history with White House attacks,” writes Fournier in The National Journal where he is now editor. “I tweeted: ‘Obama White House: Woodward is “willfully wrong.” Huh – what did Nixon White House have to say about Woodward?’”
“My tweet was not intended to compare Nixon to Obama,” continues Fournier, “but rather to compare the attack to the press strategies of all the presidents’ men.” Fournier should know. He recounts how he too was at the receiving end of similarly abusive language from an Obama official – including phrasing that Woodward complained of from Obama official Gene Sperling: “You will regret staking out that claim.”
Goons do have a way with words.
Over at the conservative National Review, Victor Davis Hansen was the headliner Tuesday with a history of Obama’s brass knuckle tactics.
“There are plenty of reasons to assume that Barack Obama has established the tenor and methodology of press relations from the very outset of his administration, characterized by expectations of unfailing support, coupled with a general vindictiveness toward his few critics among the press corps,” writes Hansen who then goes on to catalog the Obama team’s Nixonian habit of threatening liberal columnist Lanny Davis, leaking opponents’ divorce records, making enemies lists, warning state reps that they would be punished if they criticized the stimulus, and so on.
While much of the D.C. press – see the ever-loyal New York Times – has been quick to throw Woodward under the bus, others have been shaken by the attack on someone of his stature. “It’s a little embarrassing none of the rest of us was as aggressive as he was,” writes liberal Time magazine’s Mark Halperin.
Much of that lapdog journalism is ideological – but it is also the effect of intimidation. And as the lawyer for Chrysler’s bondholders, Tom Lauria says, there is nothing more threatening than Washington’s most powerful office.