March 2, 2013

"Why the 'threat' on Bob Woodward matters."

Kathleen Parker writes:
This is no tempest in a teapot but rather the leak in the dike. Drip by drip, the Obama administration has demonstrated its intolerance for dissent and its contempt for any who stray from the White House script. Yes, all administrations are sensitive to criticism, and all push back when such criticism is deemed unfair or inaccurate. But no president since Richard Nixon has demonstrated such overt contempt for the messenger. And, thanks to technological advances in social media, Obama has been able to bypass traditional watchdogs as no other president has.
Parker's trying to get past the pesky issue of whether Woodward was really threatened.

By the way... tempest in a teapot... leak in the dike.... More of the dreadful reliance on clichés from Washington writers that has been driving me crazy lately.

Here's a rule to try to follow: "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print."

87 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

The press at some level deserve the abuse they get from Obama. After all, they've been on their knees for him for years and he knows that they have the same world view. No wonder he doesn't respect them in the morning.

yeah, I know I used sexual metaphors. But they have been whoring for the Dems too long...

m stone said...

And, thanks to technological advances in social media, Obama has been able to bypass traditional watchdogs as no other president has.

Yeah, O has bypassed a complicit press, but it's been social media and alternative media that have exposed it.

Great point about use of metaphors and cliches.

Glen Filthie said...

The Sgt. is spot on.

The media cheers him on with his war on gun owners and now they are being hoisted on the same petard.

They created that monster and now they can suck on it.

Glen Filthie said...

The Sgt. is spot on.

The media cheers him on with his war on gun owners and now they are being hoisted on the same petard.

They created that monster and now they can suck on it.

AprilApple said...

Great link - thanks.

"DYING METAPHORS. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically ‘dead’ (e. g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day,...""

ah stand shoulder to shoulder. Reminds of the Nancy Pelosi years.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

But no president since Richard Nixon has demonstrated such overt contempt for the messenger.

I'm not sure what sort of respect such poor "messengers" as FOX News should be entitled to.

Parker should be the last person to complain about the supposedly underappreciated mission of right-wing talk, given all the abuse she took from them 5 years ago. If I were a tactically-obsessed connie, I'd guess that this is her way of trying to get back into their good graces.

A far more credible account of Sperling's penchant for innocuous hyperbole is widely available from those who have known him. The idea that a silly use of the word "regret" came as a dissent-quashing directive from Obama is ridiculous. And as everyone now knows, Woodward's emails to the official are way too friendly and cordial to indicate that he actually felt threatened.

Woodward is now "threatening" my sanity with his whining. I guess I'll "regret" reading anything more that he or his erstwhile defenders will say about this, which should somehow mean that they've "threatened" me with the impulse to actually consider their bad ideas ahead of time.

AprilApple said...

"Drip by drip, the Obama administration has demonstrated its intolerance for dissent and its contempt for any who stray from the White House script."

She notes the media's descent into state run whorehouse. That works.

Hagar said...

What we have seen are just the e-mails where Sperling and Woodward are papering over the rift resulting from Sperling's previous intemperate phone-call.

Eric said...

And, thanks to technological advances in social media, Obama has been able to bypass traditional watchdogs as no other president has.

But in his case, what's the point? They're more a pack of pampered lap dogs than anything you could recognizably call a watchdog.

Reynolds is right. One reason to vote Republican is the press will actually start doing its job.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

It also works, April the Apple, to talk about how damned whored out the Republicans are to corporate lobbying interest.

And it works even better, because of the shallow and wholly financial nature of Republican prostitutionalism.

I guess the Republicans were so damn whored out, that their only recourse was to deflate the value of their board-room johns' earnings.

Recession was their salvation. The pounding was just too much. No wonder they oppose an economic recovery. It would make the johns, whom they can never deny, way too powerful all over again.

Republitution.

Cinderellastory said...

Does "figure of speech" qualify as a cliche'?

O Ritmo Segundo said...

One reason to vote Republican is the press will actually start doing its job.

LOL to the MAX! Hahahahaha.

This worked soooo well for Roger Ailes on November 6th, 2012.

Talk about "lapdogs"... LOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Some people never learn. Even if Dick Morris and Karl Rove were forced to.

I guess those two guys still have their market cut out for them. Just not from the auspices of Republican Central Casting. (FOX News).

AprilApple said...

Ritmo - I don't read your posts.

garage mahal said...

Woodward is now "threatening" my sanity with his whining

Makes you wonder just how much nonsense are in the books he writes.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

You just did, twinkie.

AprilApple said...

epoch-making

A big no no, but why do I like it?

Shouting Thomas said...

Jesus, Ritmo the Retard appears to idiot-ify the discussion.

There's a racism discussion going on in another threat, Ritmo the Retard.

That's a better opportunity for your to be a rank bastard, call people vicious names, and in general shit your pants.

You can trot out your non-existent black friends and wave that flag around for a while. Ritmo the Retard, friend and savior of blacks!

Why don't you head over there?

rhhardin said...

Learning language is learning to disassemble and reassemble cliches.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

O Ritmo Segundo, are you actually a real person? Because I find it hard to believe you are.

If you are a real person, do you have any original thoughts? I've seen none so far from you. Your posts could come a Liberal text-bot application.

AprilApple said...

Ritmo - I can't help but to see your long boring loser posts. and I cannot help see you typed my name. But trust me, I stopped reading the totality of your nonsense a long time ago.

rhhardin said...

Woodward needs to use a balanced approach.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Makes you wonder just how much nonsense are in the books he writes.

I don't know much, but from what I do know he is a solid narrative-weaver. It worked well when the country needed it.

But I've read that he eventually became too cozy with the establishment, and with finding ways to unthinkingly ingratiate himself to their conventions. Over time, this reflexive comfort led to appearances on FOX News, and a willingness to entertain their descent into unusually pedestrian crudity.

So, all of a sudden, telling him that he's up to a stupid idea becomes Stalinesque.

Well, if you're from FOX Republican Central Casting Headquarters, then I don't doubt that's the way one starts to perceive things.

Shouting Thomas said...

Well, if you're from FOX Republican Central Casting Headquarters, then I don't doubt that's the way one starts to perceive things.

OK, so you're obsessed with Fox News.

What's that got to do with this topic?

Nothing, really.

Illustrate some semblance of sanity, lucidity, decency and intelligence, Ritmo the Retard. Just for once. Try it.

Bobo McChimp said...

I totally agree with Shouting Thomas!

Who does this Ritmo guy think he is, stomping on our thunder! Not having a right-wing point-of-view?

We're entitled to think that anyone who challenges our views is retarded!

Go Team Shouting Thomas!

Shouting Thomas said...

You're responding, Ritmo the Retard, to an article published in the Washington Post.

Shouting Thomas said...

I take it as a compliment when you appropriate my picture, and pretend to be speaking for me, Ritmo the Retard.

I accept your flag of surrender.

Astro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bobo McChimp said...

Who's appropriating any picture? I love this avatar!

Are you appropriating ties and guitars, and surrendering to them?

SURRENDER! Guitars and ties win.

chickelit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Astro said...

If you've just been in a shouting match from someone and then get an email from that person, you know that there are things said between the lines. You see the continuation of the anger that a disinterested reader won't see.

So these writers who are out to protect the administration from all threats will find the language to be gentler and more conciliatory that Woodward sees (knows is) there. From there they go into attack mode.

Nice reputation you have there, Bob. Be such a shame if something bad should happen to it.

Dale Light said...

If it were just Woodward who reported such things we could ignore it, but other journalists have come forward to report similar treatment. If it were just the e-mail apology we could saw Woodward is misrepresenting the interchange, but the e-mail references an earlier, much nastier, conversation. Saying that Woodward is just "whining" missed the point. He is reporting a pattern of behavior that at the least is wildly inappropriate -- one that he has encountered before, in the Nixon years.

AprilApple said...

I think the Obama Administration is delighted that so many in the media are willing to carry their water for free.
No beat-downs or threats necessary.

Barry Dauphin said...

“a metaphor is an affair between a predicate with a past and an object that yields while protesting” -Nelson Goodman.

Lydia said...

O Ritmo Segundo said...
Woodward is now "threatening" my sanity with his whining. I guess I'll "regret" reading anything more that he or his erstwhile defenders will say about this

Just which of his former defenders would those be? I thought it was his current defenders supporting him.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Sorry, Lydia. Ersatz, not erstwhile.

Joe Schmoe said...

It's easier to trash Woodward than try to rebut what he said.

Shouting Thomas said...

To address the substance of the post, as opposed to Ritmo the Retard's odd obsessions, I don't think that there's much going on here except a PR attempt to sell a book.

The press will remain on Obama's side, even as they get a little bitchy about the fact that he won't give them the time of day.

Joe Schmoe said...

Once again, an ancillary player (Woodward) becomes the story instead of another idiot policy signed by Himself. The sequester was his admin's idea and he signed it into law. He also said the next deal to ward off the sequester would be cuts only, and now he wants to add taxes. So in my mind the story is how Obama keeps trying to shit in our mouths and claim we're the stupid ones for not thinking they are Hershey kisses. Is that a good enough metaphor?

Eric said...

Ritmo, Fox has been treating the golfer-in-chief with kid gloves just like the other news organizations. I don't know why.

wyo sis said...

I'm glad to see the "toe the line" usage rather than "tow the line. I was always taught it was toe not tow. I guess we're not supposed to use it at all, but at least if you do use it get it right.

Nomennovum said...

Cliche free reporting is the Holy Grail of good journalism.

Bob_R said...

I think it's an issue of what you think the "threat" was. I don't think Sperling was saying, "don't be surprised if your horse's head just happens to wind up in your bed tomorrow morning." It was more, "keep this up and you can't sit with the cool kids at lunch." It was a "Mean Girls" threat, not a "Godfather" threat.

garage mahal said...

When Obama really wants to crack some knees he sends out a 5'6" policy wonk and starts the threatening email thusly: "I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today".

What's next? Barring Woodward from the cocktail circuit?

pj (lowercase) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

What on earth good is a simile, metaphor, or idiom that isn't commonly used? Defeats the purpose, doesn't it? Like telling a fiction writer not to use an archtype.

I can see strict rules to avoid ambiguous types of speech in law, and probably *news*, but commentary?

Tropes are tropes for a reason. Cliches are cliches for a reason. Idiom exists because idiom is powerful.

Chip Ahoy said...

Helen Thomas used to vex Bush with the same question repeatedly. She sat at the front, or near the front, and always came first, or near the first, Come to think of it, now that I am, much like a troll at a bridge, demanding the solve to a riddle for passage, except with her it was always the same riddle posed the same way and she never accepted the answer, and the whole time I was wondering why doesn't Bush kick her out for being so useless? Because it's beneath him or the office, I guessed. I still don't really know.

Nomennovum said...

Things are not so black-and-white, Garage.

Nomennovum said...

Reigning fire on journalistic gadflies is what low-level White House functionaries do.

Synova said...

I do wonder about this "happens all the time" stuff.

I'm certain that politicians have someone call reporters all the time to say "these are the real facts" or to complain or to suggest reporters reports what the politician wants reported... but threats?

Such as?

"You'll be barred from the next press conference."

"You'll be sorry."

"I'll talk to your boss."

Can anyone imagine the STORY if Bush told some reporter that if they didn't take back what they said they'd be barred from press conferences or he'd get them fired?

It's not as though reporters are reluctant to make themselves the center of a story.

Logically... either the "always happens" threats are nothing but expressions of grumpiness and not threats at all... or they work and reporters have been telling us lies in an "always happens" manner.

Nomennovum said...

Bush would have been tarred and feathered, Synova.

Nomennovum said...

The press will remain on Obama's side, even as they get a little bitchy about the fact that he won't give them the time of day. - ST

That is because the press is like a bitch in heat around the One, ST.

Synova said...

Seems to be a concerted effort to discredit Woodward (and isn't garage right on script?) but it's going to discredit all reporters even more than they are already discredited as trustworthy sources of information.

We've all grown up with the picture of the stereotypical intrepid journalist that reveals the truth at great personal, even physical risk.

How can even journalists think of themselves that way when their reaction to even a minor (if that's what it is) example of attempted suppression is to call the journalist a whiner instead of repeating and shouting out whatever information is the subject of the suppression?

Not a single bit of credit remains in the profession.

Nomennovum said...

What's funny about this increasingly obvious media bias is that some day the feckless conservatives will be back in power, and next time they won't play nice. They will usher is the liberal's right wing nightmare: a true conservative fascism that many will welcome. And then the shoe will be on the other foot. Haha.

Michael K said...

Contra Ritmo and garage, the administration seems to be exceeding even the MSM infinite tolerance for BS. A trickle from a dike, not dyke, seems an appropriate metaphor.

Revenant said...

One complaint about this article: she repeats the myth that "freedom of the press" refers to journalism and a special role for it.

What the Founders were concerned with wasn't establishing a special class of people who Speak Truth to Power. They were concerned with *everybody* having the ability to publish their viewpoints.

Nomennovum said...

I wish it were so, Michael K, but, alas, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. The press will not turn on the One.

Synova said...

Look at the comments at the newspaper... while insisting that Woodward is a has-been, hack, etc., (sounds a bit like Anne Hathaway Hate, actually) its never about... DID WOODWARD TELL THE TRUTH?

Entirely irrelevant. Truth.

Is it not *important* if this started with Obama?   Can he get the political traction that he wants if people realize that Obama set it up that way so that he could get that political traction by fear mongering that the sky is falling?

Synova said...

"One complaint about this article: she repeats the myth that "freedom of the press" refers to journalism and a special role for it."

I noticed that.

But it really is the self-image that journalists have. Like the "intrepid reporter" trope I mentioned.

How screwed up is it when reporters aren't even trying to live up to their own glorification of their own profession?

Synova said...

Is it not *important* if this started with Obama?   Can he get the political traction that he wants if people realize that Obama set it up that way so that he could get that political traction by fear mongering that the sky is falling?

St. George said...

Wouldn't you love to see the psychological profiles on Obama that foreign governments have put together?

campy said...

What's funny about this increasingly obvious media bias is that some day the feckless conservatives will be back in power,

Dream on.

Synova said...

How really odd. My comments with links in them are disappearing (after they appear to appear.)

Michael K said...

The Europeans seem to be figuring out a solution, no matter how nasty

This week Europe blew up. The media haven't caught up yet, because they are what they are. But the markets are catching up fast.

This is a huge event for the United States, because our political elite is bound and determined to turn us into Europe. Hasn't the EU found the answer to war and peace and prosperity forever?

Our Democrats believe it. Europe is their model. Every batty new idea they have is copied from the glorious European Union. Twenty years ago they still celebrated the Soviet Union, until that house of cards crumbled. Now they have shifted their fantasy paradise to Europe.

Over there, fifty years of increasingly centralized control have made it impossible for voters to be heard. The political parties are stuck in GroupThink. Only the fascist "protest" parties agitate for reform. The ruling class doesn't listen. They don't have to -- they don't have to run for election.

So European voters fled to the fascists to express their rage and despair. Imagine one out of four US voters going for Lincoln Rockwell, and you get the idea.


Nothing to see here. Just move on.

Alex said...

It's a given that as soon as Ritmo shows up the thread is destroyed. There will be no good discussions afterwards.

edutcher said...

I-am-not-a-Dictator Zero wants to be Mommy the Commie's good little son, but he doesn't seem to realize how going after the Greatest Investigative Reporter in the history of Everything is sowing dragon's teeth.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

One reason to vote Republican is the press will actually start doing its job.

LOL to the MAX! Hahahahaha.

This worked soooo well for Roger Ailes on November 6th, 2012.

Talk about "lapdogs"... LOLOLOLOLOLOL.


My God, Ritmo's sounding like Diamond.

He needs to find someone who can read to go over that statement and find out why it's a new level of dumb even for him.

Lydia said...

In defense of Parker's use of those clichés in that paragraph:

I'm sure that she, and the Washington Post editorial staff, are well aware of Orwell's anti-clichés diktat, but I think she used that "tempest in a teapot" in an effort to counteract what other journalists had been calling it. Jeffrey Goldberg, for example, was quoted in Politico as saying "The whole thing seems like a tempest in a teapot." As did her own paper's Chris Cillizza: "It’s a classic Washington tempest in a teapot that elicits, at most, a shrug of the shoulders from most folks."

It had become a meme. So back she comes with that "leak in the dike".

A wee war of the clichés.

MadisonMan said...

It's ironic that your rule misuses which for that.

There's a rule about that, which rule I won't write here.

AJ Lynch said...

I bet Parker voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Dante said...

From Orwell's essay:

In addition, the passive voice is wherever possible used in preference to the active, and noun constructions are used instead of gerunds (by examination of instead of by examining).

Paddy O said...

Here's a rule to try to follow: "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print."

This is why journalists are still so important. They use the metaphors, similes, and figures of speech that show the rest of us what not to say.

phx said...

Wouldn't you love to see the psychological profiles on Obama that foreign governments have put together?

Maybe Israel's. Psychological profiling from other countries would probably be a joke, or they wouldn't bother. Just speculating.

Lem said...

The nail that sticks out gets hammered down

This overwhelming favourite Japanese proverb amongst Japan watchers is a MYTH. If you have ever seen a Japanese school teacher or mother at work you can instantly see that there is no hammering going on. The nail that sticks out is indulged until it decides it would rather not stick out after all in case that indulgence disappears.

Unconformity is inelegant.

Lem said...

How really odd. My comments with links in them are disappearing (after they appear to appear.)

That was happening to me last night.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

No, that's just the excuse you use for how bad your comments are, Alex.

Lem said...

Woodward needs to use a balanced approach.

rh.

Michael K said...

Blogger phx said...

" Wouldn't you love to see the psychological profiles on Obama that foreign governments have put together?

Maybe Israel's. Psychological profiling from other countries would probably be a joke, or they wouldn't bother. Just speculating. "

How about China's ?

GrandpaMark said...

A friend once got lost,on foot, in a gang controlled neighborhood in Oakland, California after dark.
She was surrounded by several AA men
who politely asked her if she could loan them $200.00.
For some reason, she felt threatened.
As for me, I am pretty sure they meant to "pay her back" some day

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Here's a rule to try to follow: "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print."

BLESS YOU, ANN. And, thanks for not saying "to try and follow".

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

...or hearing from the @@#$%% TV talking heads.

phx said...

How about China's

I bet they're not very clever at psycho profiles. Again just speculating.

Matthew Sablan said...

The White House has always been at war with Woodward.

Matthew Sablan said...

If Obama wants to prove there was no threat: Fire the guy who yelled at reporters so badly and unprofessionally as to feel he needed to apologize for it. That would prove that Obama in no way intended to chill the freedom of speech. Remembering when preventing the "chilling effect" used to be a big deal to liberals?

AllenS said...

The MSM press will never turn on Obama. There is a trail of evidence on who they will protect no matter what. Remember Ted Kennedy and Mary Jo? Of course you do. Does anyone think that the press would have supported any Republican after that incident where a young woman and her unborn child died?

The MSM is the news division of the Democrat Party.

Paul Brinkley said...

"Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print."

...That doesn't help much if you never spend time reading other newspapers... :-/

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