Tags: woodward | obama | threats | press

Veteran Journalist Alter: White House Threatened Me Like Woodward, Only Worse

Thursday, 28 Feb 2013 05:37 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Veteran journalist Jonathan Alter has revealed that just like Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Bob Woodward, he too was once threatened by the Obama Administration.

“There is a kind of a threatening tone that from time to time – not all the time – that comes out of these guys,’’ Alter told Steve Malzberg on Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.’’

Story continues below.



“During the 2008 campaign . . . in Berlin, it was on Obama’s trip, and they didn’t like something I reported and I was disinvited to a dinner that night that reporters were having with the candidate. I was told ‘don’t come’ in a fairly abusive email.’’

The email came from Obama’s then-press secretary, Robert Gibbs, according to Alter.

Alter said Gibbs sent him one email — he didn’t specify if it was the 2008 campaign complaint — that “made what Gene Sperling wrote [to Woodward] look like patty cake.’’

Earlier this week, the renowned Washington Post reporter accused Sperling, Obama’s top economic policy advisor, of threatening him over an opinion piece he had penned.

In that piece, Woodward charged Obama with “moving the goalposts” by insisting GOP lawmakers sign off on a new tax-revenue scheme to avoid a sequester.

“Definitely all of us in this business and all administrations if you cover this stuff as long as I have, they get mad at you for one reason or another,’’ said Alter, a longtime Newsweek columnist who now writes for Bloomberg View.

“And I’ve gotten some much, much nastier emails.’’

Alter doesn’t believe Sperling was really threatening Woodward.

“First of all, he’s not stupid enough to threaten Bob Woodward. “He was saying you’re going to regret this when the truth of this comes out,’’ he said.

“From where he was coming from, he thought that when the facts finally came out, whenever that would be, that Woodward would regret that he said they moved the goalpost.

“So to me this feels like, honestly, much ado about almost nothing.’’

Alter said Sperling’s missive to Woodward was “not like he’s threatening to throw him into the Potomac River or something. He’s just saying that their interpretation of the facts are different . . . But Gene Sperling is a little bit of a nebbish, as we say to use the Yiddish.’’

Alter called claims by other journalists including Lanny Davis and Ron Fournier that they have also been threatened by the White House “interesting.’’

But he added: “We have to be big boys and girls too in the press. There’s a lot of head butting at the line of scrimmage and we don’t want to get into a situation where we’re whining about it . . .

“You should see some of the things I got from Ari Fleischer in the Bush administration. This is part of the game.’’

Watch Steve Malzberg 3-6 PM ET at http://www.newsmax.com/live or listen on SiriusXM Satellite Radio America’s Talk 166.”



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