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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The average rightwing freakout story has the life span of a fruit fly

Raw Story:

A rhetorical threat allegedly issued to veteran Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward by a top White House official turns out to be not quite what the press first made of it, according to emails obtained by Politico.

Woodward, one half of the journalistic duo credited with inspiring the resignation of President Richard Nixon (R), has criticized President Barack Obama’s (D) handling of the debt limit negotiations and the “sequestration” budget cuts those negotiations produced.

The sequester cuts, part of a deal hammered out by Congress and the White House in 2011 in a negotiation to raise the debt ceiling, are automatic spending cuts that will trim $1.2 trillion from both domestic and defense spending over 10 years. The first cuts are scheduled to go into place on Friday, which will trim $85 million from the current budget unless Congress comes up with an alternative deal.

That supposedly raised the ire of a senior Obama administration official who “yelled at me for about a half hour,” Woodward told Politico on Wednesday. The unnamed official allegedly said the reporter would come to “regret” his writing on the sequester.

Now that the full exchange has been published, it would seem the earlier context implied a much more strongly-worded discussion. In other words, the threat to Woodward turns out to be almost nothing at all.

What follows in the Raw Story report is a congenial exchange that’s actually pretty boring, as congenial exchanges usually are. The right fixated on the “threat” that Wooward would “regret” reporting his take on the story, which doesn’t look very threatening at all: “But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post,” Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling wrote to Woodward. “I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.”

In other words, it wasn’t the “I WILL DESTROY YOU!” threat Woodward and the right are pretending it was. It’s more of a “I’m telling you buddy, you’re about to make a fool of yourself” sort of warning. But you don’t get to play the victim card over friendly advice and it’s no fun just to report facts as facts — you don;t even get to have yourself a good freak out over it.

Remember this morning how I wrote that wingnuts go to media sources that lie to them because they want to be lied to? Yeah, that’s why you’ll come across a story like this almost every day.

[photo via Mo Kaiwen 莫楷文]

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