As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Another Victim of White House Abuse Pops Up

Veteran reporter Ron Fournier, the former Associated Press chief White House reporter who now is editorial director for National Journal, shares his own experience with White House bullying, which was occurring apparently even as the whole Bob Woodward episode was going down.

From his story this morning:

I tweeted: “Obama White House: Woodward is ‘willfully wrong.’ Huh-what did Nixon White House have to say about Woodward?”

. . . The (senior White House) official angered by my Woodward tweet sent me an indignant e-mail. “What’s next, a Nazi analogy?” the official wrote, chastising me for spreading “bull**** like that” I was not offended by the note, mild in comparison to past exchanges with this official. But it was the last straw in a relationship that had deteriorated.

As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Politico characterized as a veiled threat. “You will regret staking out that claim,” The Washington Post reporter was told.

Once I moved back to daily reporting this year, the badgering intensified. I wrote Saturday night, asking the official to stop e-mailing me. The official wrote, challenging Woodward and my tweet. “Get off your high horse and assess the facts, Ron,” the official wrote.

I wrote back:

“I asked you to stop e-mailing me. All future e-mails from you will be on the record — publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you. My cell-phone number is … . If you should decide you have anything constructive to share, you can try to reach me by phone. All of our conversations will also be on the record, publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you.”

I haven’t heard back from the official.

Fournier is no wimp and he values his sources. He is, in short, one of a handful of reporters in town I really respect. It must have taken heavy torrents of verbal sewage for him to put an end to the relationship.

It occurs to me. What kinds of people are these exactly? They show up for work every day at the most prestigious address in the world and spend a certain portion of their time acting in the most vile manner imaginable.

And they’re running the country. You can’t tell me they isolate this type of behavior and attitude to their phone calls to reporters.

And the president of the United States has no objection. This is our leadership.

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38 Responses to Another Victim of White House Abuse Pops Up

  1. The “most transparent administration in history” apparently only believes in one-way glass. They can envision all kinds of filth, real or imagined, on those beyond their walls. But any observations of less than perfection in the White House from those on the outside must be downplayed, diverted, denounced, disparaged, denigrated or disputed — dishonestly or otherwise.

    That capital (and Capitol) “D” doesn’t just stand for Democrat.

  2. The public reports of a high turnover in the FirstLady’s office, the accusation that women in the WhiteHouse were not taken seriously, and the high turnover at all levels of the WhiteHouse, coupled with reports of profanities and long hours, I’d say it is a hostile workplace and the employees reflect the pressure they work under.

    We all know there are secrets that must be kept by out government in the name of national security, and we also acknowlege that no President is error-proof, but the exent they go to protect MrObama is extraordinary and must make any job there a high-pressure one.
    Without the panache of a political wheeler-dealer, MrObama must rely on a heavy hand to reach his goals, where other Presidents were comfortable trading back and forth with the other party.
    Heavy hand politics, high-pressure to be perfect, and maintaining a transparency while hiding errors and keeping secrets make for a poor workplace and mean employees.

  3. What kinds of people are these exactly? They are Chicago political operatives who are morally bankrupt, lying scumbags who will say and do ANYTHING no matter how vile, illegal or immoral. Chicago is the nation’s leading cesspool of political corruption. There is a reason why so many of them end up in jail.

  4. It’s this Chicago-On-The-Potomac routine that could ultimately spell big trouble on the corner of 16th and Penn. First, Woodward; then, Lanny Davis; now, Fournier; who will speak up next? Enough holes in the “civility” dike could end up flooding this White House with an ocean of civic discontent. Obama has always had high personal numbers; but if the perception of “this guy’s a thug” starts playing in Peoria, those could tank quickly, taking his approval numbers into the toilet bowl for the rest of his term.

    Obama needs to dial it back, in a major way. Another four years of thugocracy would wreck the Democratic brand in 2016, in much the same way as war fatigue dragged down the GOP brand in 2008. And if the economy gets markedly worse, or an exogenous shock event gets mishandled, the Democrats could face headwinds worse than the GOP had to deal with in 2008.

    Now, I could be surprised. The public might well tolerate some corruption; and it might well tolerate some incompetence. But–and on this I am certain–it will NOT tolerate both. So if this is indeed to be a thugocracy, it had better be a sure-footed one. Obama will NOT escape accountability if his administration ends up looking like Amateur Night at Tammany Hall.

    • However, Obama was put in office by the same people who keep electing people like Nancy Pelosi, Sheila Jackson Lee, Barney Frank, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Harry Reid, Marion Berry, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

      Kinda makes you wonder what those voters’ standards are…

    • The public tolerated Obama’s corruption and incompetence during his first term so why would they change now? As long as Obama is giving out the “free stuff” he will keep roughly 50% of the population happy.

  5. Great work as usual Kieth. As for what kind of people? The kind of people whose righteous indignation and elitist attitudes will only reinforce the paranoia needed to justify their behaiviors and deeds. Soon enough it won’t be just Bushes fault.

    • Whoops wrong button. Continuing…they are now coming for our guns, controlling the press is a given. Bill Plante had a great quote out regarding OFA. If they can go directly to the people, they neutralize the (free) press and what is left isn’t news. It is propaganda. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2990835/posts?page=67
      To me, this l proves they will not tolerate dissent and are not interested in anything other than what they know is right.

  6. That unidentified WH stalker sure does sound like some of the querulous liberals who are paid to dog Drudge listings, or leave their droppings on this great blog. Good on Ron Fournier for standing up for his fellow journalist, Bob Woodward. Too bad nobody did the same for Neil Munro of the Daily Caller a few months ago.

  7. No reason to doubt Obama’s integrity — period? Mr. Founier can’t possibly be serious.

    Fournier; “Reporting by Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered Watergate misdeeds and led to the resignation of President Nixon. My tweet was not intended to compare Nixon to Obama (there is no reason to doubt Obama’s integrity — period) but rather to compare the attack to the press strategies of all the presidents’ men.”

  8. I rrally think Woodward and you shoulw publish the person who is threatening Woodward and you. Why play games? No telling is really unfair to us citizens. We shoukd know the person/persons who might do harm to you asnd to us. We already know the head honcho who will do harm, why not the troops?

  9. Apologies for jumping in again, but I just thought of something.

    Breitbart is passing along even MORE allegations of Obama’s henchmen threatening journalists. So now, I’m starting to wonder.

    Politico wrote not long ago that journalists weren’t hounding Obama because Obama was essentially holding them hostage by threatening to yank their credentials. The left wasn’t buying it, and the right essentially dismissed it as an excuse for long-running liberal bias.

    But what if that’s true? What if Obama is getting the kid glove treatment from the press, not because they agree with him, but because he’s threatening to not let them do their jobs? It would be a brilliant strategy: the left loves the cheerleading for their man, the right simply throws up its hands and says, “Well, that’s liberal journalists for you.”

    A thought experiment. Given some of the reportage in recent days, what would I think if Chris Matthews got on his show tomorrow night, and said that everything he’s been saying about Obama since 2004 was said under duress from Obama’s leg breakers?

    The question pretty much answers itself. And that leads to another question. The accepted narrative is that the media made Obama back in 2008. But what if that’s not what really happened? What if it was Obama making the media make Obama?

    I know that sounds far out, but think back on 2008 for a second. Hillary had been around Washington for a decade and a half, and had actually won elections on her own. Obama was four years removed from being a back bench state senator, and his only election wins had come from throwing his opponents off the ballot. Obama was the obvious newcomer to that match-up, so why would experienced Washington professionals suddenly start falling all over themselves to start throwing flower petals in front of an obvious lightweight?

    Is it possible that Obama was working the press behind the scenes back in 2008, threatening to shut them out unless they worshiped him in print?

    Again, I know that sounds far-fetched; but given the number of journalists who’ve come forward in the past few days to say they’ve been threatened by this bunch, is it entirely outside the realm of possibility?

    Did Obama make the media make Obama?

  10. I am amazed that reporters I respect (including Keith and Fournier) for their neutrality continue to insist that Obama has integrity. This makes me wonder what I’m missing.

    I remember when the GOP was looking for a candidate after the Clinton years. G.W. was chosen as a good ol’ boy who would go-along, not make waves, and toe-the-line… and I’m not talking just the Party line, but the overall line of the power brokers who determine the direction our country goes in. GW was touted as an empty suit, a C-student who knew how to play politics and take direction well. Honestly, I remember reading articles about GW’s vetting down in Texas.

    I also remember when GW went rogue, and did not turn out to be quite so compliant as hoped.

    So, back in 2004, Obama suddenly shoots to prominence as the keynote speaker at the Democratic party and candidate for US Senator. This man really did come from nowhere. After reading The Amateur, Obama’s lack of substance was evident. He sounds like he does nothing, allowing Michelle and V. Jarrett to manipulate the puppet according to the power-brokers directions.

    I think the power-brokers finally have their empty suit, their political handlers, and their thugs and cronies. And we’re reaping the harvest. It scares me that noone knows Obama personally. When out without his female handlers, the press has no access. However, the puppet has charisma, magnetic charm, and the ability to excite the masses.

    I wonder if his empty suit will be filled by something truly malevolent in the days to come.

  11. “What kinds of people are these exactly? They show up for work every day at the most prestigious address in the world and spend a certain portion of their time acting in the most vile manner imaginable.”

    Keith, of course they act this way. They’re working for, arguably, the most powerful person in the world and they take that mantle onto themselves. I work in government and when the White House calls, we jump, no matter who is calling. It’s a fact of life. These douches simply extend that air of superiority and elitism to those outside of government who they work with the most, namely the press.

    • “What kinds of people are these exactly? They show up for work every day at the most prestigious address in the world and spend a certain portion of their time acting in the most vile manner imaginable.”

      They probably think this is he-man stuff–squash court bandinage.

  12. As I am writing this, Obama is on the radio, lying about his record, his goals, his efforts to work with Republicans, and castigating the “rich and connected”, framing himself as the hero of the American people. His tone is churlish, petulant, imperial. He is bragging about how very hard he is working for the American people, the “vast majority of which” support his policies 100 percent because they elected him–he says. The only thing missing is the Berlin Olympic stadium and Leni Riefenstahl recording it all on film This is what passes for leadership in Washington.

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