If you’ve been keeping up with The Perils of Bobline, when we last left Bob Woodward, he was tied up and left on the railroad tracks by the evil Snidely Obama who threatened him that if he didn’t pay the mortgage, he would foreclose on his publishing house and let the train run over him.
In response, Bobline cried out in a high pitch, “Help! Help! Oh please, someone help poor little growing irrelevant me!”
But it was too late, the train of media opinion ran over the melodramatic Bobline and his professional credibility was killed.
Poor Bobline Woodward. Many years ago he used to be relevant and meaningful in the world of journalism. Now, he’s the equivalent of a 1980’s sitcom star trying to do anything he can to get on “Dancing With the Stars”.
In an attempt to get the attention he used to receive in his past glory days, Woodward trumped up an exaggerated story to try and reapply the image of Brave Journalistic Crusader Threatened By Presidents.
The problem is, since his charges are dishonest, he has instead cast himself as, Hysterical Cowardly Old Has-Been Who is Desperate For Attention.
Here is the situation in a nutshell:
Some members of the press and others took to Twitter to joke about Bob Woodward’s claims of being “threatened” by the White House, saying that the full text of the emails don’t back up the Washington Post reporter.
Here is the full email exchange courtesy of Politico:
From Gene Sperling to Bob Woodward on Feb. 22, 2013
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.
From Woodward to Sperling on Feb. 23, 2013
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
And here is the soap opera, “Oh my word! I’m gettin’ the vapors, I may faint!” portrayal of that exchange by Woodward (also courtesy of Politico):
“It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, you’re going to regret doing something that you believe in.”
“Come on, I think if Obama himself saw the way they’re dealing with some of this, he would say, ‘Whoa, we don’t tell any reporter ‘you’re going to regret challenging us.’”
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.”
And where is Woodward running to today to show off his new hair-on-fire hairstyle while shouting, “The President’s comin’ to get me!”? Sean Hannity at Fox News.
Unknown to Bob “Hyperventilation” Woodward, PlanetPOV has obtained a couple of other emails which he has also represented as threatening. Decide for yourself:
From Local Girl Scout Troop 172 to Bob Woodward:
We’re having our annual cookie sale and we hope you’ll want to buy our delicious cookies again! Buy them soon or it may be too late for you to get them since we do run out.
Girl Scout Troop 172”
Response from Bob Woodward to Bill O’Reilly at Fox News:
“Unfortunately, I can’t see this as anything other than intimidation and a veiled threat from Girl Scout Troop 172, saying that “It may be too late for me.” Fortunately for me, I’ve been to this rodeo before but had another younger and more promising reporter received a heavy handed threat like this, they would probably have stabbed themselves in the chest with a machete and jumped out the window of a high rise into a wood-chipper.”
Here was another email:
From Society For Good Homes For Puppies to Bob Woodward:
“Dear Mr. Woodward,
Our group is dedicated to the protection and happiness of puppies. We are hoping that due to your previous interest in our group, you may be interested in giving one of our cute and cuddly puppies a home. We could contact you by email with details on available puppies or else you could come to our shelter to meet our puppies and play with them. Many are already housebroken and would make loving pets.
Thanks for your consideration,
Society For Good Homes For Puppies”
Response from Bob Woodward to Washington Times:
“What I have to admit is a bit threatening here is their use of the phrase “or else”. Or else what? Sure they cover their tracks by saying one thing but there is a clear attempt at using fear to silence me by both this organization and the puppies themselves. Trying to lure me into some kind of shelter where animals are locked in with me is intimidation, pure and simple. And they can try to threaten me about puppies breaking into my house but I’ll get a restraining order against those puppies, they’ll never lick me!”
We are currently seeking to uncover the email from “The Alliance of Kindly Loving Grandparents Who Like to Give Money as Birthday Presents” to see how it squares with Woodward’s claim, “They are a vicious hate group bent on seeing me gagged and waterboarded…after being choked unmercifully with hard candies.”
I always come here to the Planet to help me understand issues, so I am asking once again for someone to help me understand what all the fuss is about.
In an interview on MSNBC, Woodward denied that he felt threatened by the WH. He accused David Axelrod of “putting words in his mouth.” But when Wolf Blitzer characterized Gene Sperling’s words as “a threat”, Woodward was sitting right there (in another interview, of course), and didn’t deny he felt threatened. His own newspaper called it a “threat”, and he did not deny it then, either.
However, when Woodward was asked directly by Axelrod, “So if you felt threatened, why didn’t you say to Gene, don’t threaten me?” then, and only then, Woodward denied that he felt threatened.
So, once again, I ask…what is all the fuss about? Woodward felt “uncomfortable” and the rest of us have to live through another week of “he said I said what I didn’t say, although what I did say is on tape and in print”? Our government and press has descended into “gotcha” dramas instead of governing and facts. The Yiddish expression, “Oy vey” seems to describe our press and our government best nowadays. Am I the only one missing the point, or are we being intentionally, and continuously, diverted around the point?
glenn, one thought that’s occurred to me regarding Woodward is that there’s actually some sort of health issue going on.
I’ve seen him in a couple of panel discussion situations recently and his speech seems slow. He seems to struggle to find the appropriate word.
I’m wondering if he’s had some mini-strokes? Is in early-stage Alzheimer’s? I’m not trying to be mean-spirited or judgmental here. Just trying to understand what’s making him act like this.
Hey kes! I think Woodward is trying to reclaim a bit of glory from his Watergate days. I think he also feels that the whitehouse has slighted him in some way or another. I don’t think that is the case here, but Woodward is certainly blowing this whole thing way out of proportion.
How far we fall from great heights!
I know, KT. It reveals a remarkable level of pettiness, doesn’t it?
Kes-thanks for replying. It’s as good an explanation as any.
glenn, this surely is not a huge issue, it is a story that has some relevance because it is about a famous and once-respected journalist giving a dishonest representation demonizing the Obama Admin to garner attention.
For folks who are tired of the RW press demonizing Obama and his Admin with lies about what fascists they are, it is a bit of a surprise to see Woodward join their side and in doing so, completely discredit himself with the rest of the country.
We don’t often get to see nasty lies about Obama and his admin disproven so plainly and Woodward seems so clueless at how deep a hole he keeps digging, it’s been red meat for the RW and watching a slow motion car crash for the rest.
In the end, though it is reflective of the game that corporations and the RW are playing to deceive the American public in pursuit of greed, it is not a big deal and should be well ignored by next week.
AdLib–I think it’s so sad to see a once-great reporter fall so low. I’m beginning to believe that Bernstein did most of the investigative reporting and Woodward just went along for the ride. Now that Woodward has to work on his own, he has to make up stories. But, as you said, the story will ignored by next week–except by the rw media who never lets a good lie die!
I think back in the day they both did excellent work. It was Woodward who knew “Deep Throat” and used that contact very well. The pity is that he has let his success go to his head, has produced books that did not ‘triangulate’ with two sources for major assertions, and has written more and more “Republican” types of statements: well, it COULD be true…
He needed the firm hand of Ben Bradlee apparently. He is going over the top more and more, and now he just looks stupid. What a waste of talent. Reversion to his high school superficiality (see my notes on him below) was NOT inevitable but is definitely occurring.
CL–Your comments, both those on Woodward in high school and those about Woodward being the contact for ‘deep throat’ actually seem to add credence to my theory. Woodward may have been the one who contacted DT and talked to him, but Bernstein is probably the one who did the writing. And, for the biggest story of his life, Woodward did not do much “triangulation”; it was mostly DT’s assertions that brought Nixon down. I think Woodward thinks he’s Deep Throat now; the insider telling all the DC and White House “secrets”.
You may well be right about him. All I know of him after high school is via the book and movie – and of course it would make him look good.
Bernstein WOULD have the clout of Woodward had he not cheated on his very pregnant wife, Norah Ephron. He looked the perfect ass when she wrote about him and turned their life into a hit movie. He never was looked on the same again.
Woodward, having deep GOP roots at home in his youth, apparently has never shaken them off, Watergate notwithstanding. He’s now made himself the perfect buffoon. His caught up with Bernstein at last – just on the slippery slope DOWN.
Sally, there’s also the new international symbol for Bob Woodward:
OK – I went to high school with Bob Woodward. He was ahead of me, an “older man”, typical BMOC, very popular from a very well-to-do home. His daddy was a big shot Republican judge, and he was a kid of privilege. In “All the President’s Men” each author wrote of the other. Bernstein wrote of Woodword that it was not sure that English was his native language. That was pretty much his rep in HS – BMOC but not BBOC – Big Brain on Campus. He was cute, had a great smile, wore pegleg jeans beautifully. And…that’s about it.
That aside, those two did amazing work. It’s probably never been equaled outside of the Pentagon Papers. He rose to the moment. He’s never been able to equal his own self since.
Bob has reverted to high school Bob. He writes – and every time I become less and less sure he is telling the truth. His “interview” with dying CIA director William Casey was, even to me a fan, deeply worrisome in its apparent falsehood.
I don’t read him anymore, books or paper, and it was only with this flap I learned he’d been a strong Bush war policy supporter. Now how can he have cred? Between that and the nagging rumors about the Casey “interview” being made up, the man is crumbling away.
He ought to go back home and live in the glory of his past. He’s not making much of a present or future at this rate.
CL, Woodward sounds like he is suffering from the same illness as John McCain. They just can’t stand that they aren’t the center of attention anymore or thought of as the smartest in their fields now. Their opinions should be kept more to themselves and they might still be respected. Well, that may be too late.
Sally, very incisive, you are so right about the comparison. I do see a parallel between McCain and Woodward on becoming older, more dishonest and unprincipled and pandering to elevate themselves.
I would bet there is a psychological condition for this syndrome but if there isn’t, we could always call it “Has-been Archaic Characters Knowingly Slipping” (HACKS).
AdLib, they remind me of Marlon Brando in the movie On The Waterfront except with a little play on words. I replace the “coulda been’s” with “once”:
“You don’t understand. I once had class. I once was a contender. I once was somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.”
Great reference, Sally! It seems though that Woodward doesn’t have the self-awareness to recognize that “I coulda been a contender”, he thinks he is.
It says a lot more about this oblivious hack that he keeps going on his chest pounding media tour despite how it makes him look worse and worse.
How can a man be a decent reporter when he displays that he is clueless about the reality around him?
What a fool, he is only putting in cement those famous words, “I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.”
PERFECT, Sally. Right on the money!
Thanks, CL!! 🙂
CL, that’s very interesting! It sure fits the impression he’s made on me post-Watergate. I tend to think Bernstein was the brilliant one and Woodward was made a star by following him.
Woodward can’t live in the glory of the past now, he’s destroyed that. He’s now revealed himself as an egocentric, dishonest crybaby and I doubt that those who know about what he’s done will ever go back to holding him in high regard. Which is as it should be.
As you describe, his stand with Bush on preemptive wars and the Casey “interview” were red flags along the way that this is not a man to be taken seriously anymore.
Some times greatness is thrust upon those who later prove unworthy of it. Woodward is now a lifetime member of that club in my book.
Ha! Funny stuff Ad. The RWers are already going berserk over this attempt to make another mountain out of another molehill. They’re saying things like, “see, see, I told you lefties that Obama was evil!” Or the standard, “Obama is trying to destroy this county!”
Red meat to starving dogs! (my apologies to good dogs everywhere)
KT, the real question is when will the RWers stop going berserk over lies? Not until Obama completes his second term at least.
Well, hope Bob Woodward is hanging teabags from a tricorner hat, the Baggers are the only ones left now who will give what he has to say any credibility from now on.
And the BS to all of this is that it was the Repubs and the Bush Admin who genuinely threatened people who opposed them, getting them fired all around the country, Ari Fleischer under Bush warning all Americans but primarily those in the media that they better watch what they say (in one of their post-9-11 campaigns to get ABC to fire Bill Maher from Politically Incorrect and cancel it…which they accomplished).
This reminds me of something other kids tried to teach me when I first moved to England. We had a hysterical gym teacher who would get upset at the slightest little thing while making mountains out of molehills, and the kids would giggle after one of them said, ” I thought I’d shit myself but when I looked I’d only farted.” It took a long time for me to understand with my broken English, and when I did I would laugh along with them.
What a shame about Woodward’s loss of integrity when good, honest journalism would have kept his place up there along with the other respected few. Who can ever take him seriously again especially after going on Fox.
Don’t trip on you way down the ladder Bob.
Funny piece AdLib, but unfortunately very true.
“Bob Woodward and Politico and the Worst of Washington” by Michael Tomasky
Hey Kalima, very funny!!!
It reminded me of my daughter’s first grade teacher who was one of those “I hate kids and hate teaching but I’ll hang in a few more years until retirement” types.
She was nearly hysterical in a parents’ conference, warning about how horrible my daughter’s future will be if she keeps acting…like a 1st Grader! I told her to calm down and advised her on how to talk to parents and deal with 6 year olds. What a hack…just like Woodward.
You’re absolutely right, he can’t be taken seriously ever again, he’s the Bob Who Cried Wolf!
Tomasky nails this whole situation, thanks for adding the link here!
AdLib, so funny and so true!
Words fail me. But pictures don’t.
Remember this YouTube guy who was weeping over some slight to his idol, Britney Spears?
How did Woodward go from being a decent reporter to this whiner?
Kes, too funny!!! You absolutely nailed it with the “Stop Being Mean to Britney!” guy!
I also thought of this picture:
What has happened to Woodward? I’d guess, the same thing that happened to Howard Fineman and others. They’re old in a business with lots of younger powerhouses and the only way they see to stay competitive is to sell out and pander.
I have been off of Woodward for some time as he’s seemed to slant his writing to being unfairly critical of Obama so this doesn’t change that much for me, I’ve already written him off as having jumped the shark.