National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling dropped in for a friendly visit with David Gregory on Meet the Press Sunday. If you’ve never heard of Sperling, don’t feel bad. He only got the invite because “legendary” Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward said he was “threatened” by him in connection to a story he was doing on the president’s role in sequestration. Read more here… if you’d like.
In a nutshell, Woodward and Sperling had a “heated” phone conversation that led to an email exchange. Therein, Sperling told Woodward he’d “regret” staking out the claim that President Obama had “moved the goalposts” on Republicans by asking for revenues in return for brokering a deal to avoid sequestration. The media world went nuts – because Woodward’s kind of a big deal – and journalists began coming out of the wood works sharing their own stories of being strong armed by this White House and previous administrations.
Then the email exchange was released – rendering this story rather empty and meaningless. The only takeaway was a fear that younger and less seasoned journalists could feel bullied by this kind of treatment. Shame on you White House!
I suppose that’s reason enough for this story to be a story; but I’m struggling to figure out how it managed to be important enough to earn a spot on the Sunday political show circuit. Bob Woodward’s about to be pushing a new book; and he’s clearly using the ginned-up story to gain headlines and media attention ahead of the release. I don’t blame him for doing it. But this story does seem a just a tad adolescent. But, I suppose, that’s capitalism. There’s a demand for anyone willing to “challenge” this White House; and he seems willing to provide the supply. That said, I think he oversold this one… just a bit.