(NEW YORK POST) — As coverage of last week’s flare-up between Bob Woodward and the White House devolved into the granular parsing of words and implications and extrapolations and possible intent, the larger point was roundly missed: the increasing pressure that White House correspondents feel when dealing with the Obama administration — to follow their narrative, to be properly deferential !, to react to push-back by politely sitting down and shutting up.
“The whole Woodward thing doesn’t surprise me at all,” says David Brody, chief political correspondent for CBN News. “I can tell you categorically that there’s always been, right from the get-go of this administration, an overzealous sensitivity to any push-back from any media outlet.”
A brief recap: After the Washington Post ran a Woodward op-ed in which he claimed that the administration was “moving the goalposts” on the eve of the potential sequester, the veteran journalist went on to assert that economic adviser Gene Sperling said, in an e-mail, “I think you will regret staking out this claim.”
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While Woodward spent a lot of the week on cable news going back and forth on whether that was a threat, few reporters, if any, asked why a high-level administration official spent so much time — Sperling admittedly shouted at Woodward during a 30-minute phone call, followed by that e-mail — attempting to control an opinion expressed in a newspaper.