It’s Fish Poll time.
When WaPo‘s Bob Woodward, a guy who has figured out how to bring out the toddler in Democrats and Republicans, claimed on Wednesday that he was threatened by the White House, a media debate started over what exactly constitutes a “threat.”
After Woodward said this week that it was the Obama administration which came up with the sequester idea, a White House official (Gene Sperling, Director of the White House Economic Council) emailed Woodward to say he’d “regret staking out that claim.”
In a subsequent interview with Politico, Woodward maintained that it was indeed a threat. “Come on,” he said. “I think if Obama himself saw the way they’re dealing with some of this, he would say, ‘Whoa, we don’t tell any reporter ‘you’re going to regret challenging us.’”
Some sided with Woodward. Others said the “regret” line was nothing, similar to telling someone he’d be proven wrong in time… The White House has denied it was a threat.
“Officials often threaten reporters that they will ‘regret’ printing something that is untrue, but Woodward took the remark as a threat,” BuzzFeed‘s Ben Smith wrote. “I respect Woodward for going public with the email, the veiled threat,” tweeted National Review‘s Robert Costa. “Too many reporters in this town get bullied and never speak up.” The Nation‘s Greg Mitchell said, “Bob Woodward has become such a tool he takes someone saying ‘you’ll regret this’ as a serious ‘threat.'”
“It is funny how dismissive 30-something liberal reporters are of Woodward’s interpretation of what was or wasn’t a threat,” tweeted RedState‘s Erick Erickson.
Afterward, Politico released the full email exchange between Woodward and Sperling, in which Sperling refers to Woodward as “a friend.” (Not in the way that Bill O’Reilly refers to Howard Kurtz as his “pal,” but in the way that one might actually refer to someone he genuinely cares for.)
“Threat Level: Chartreuse,” NYT‘s David Carr tweeted (chartreuse is a color between green and yellow).
Erickson did an about face: “Ok wow,” he tweeted. “Finally read the email to Woodward. I must now move to the ‘not a threat’ camp.”
The debate goes on but we’re ready to put it to the final test. Answer our Fish Poll below. Was it a threat or is Woodward full of shit? We’ll post the results tomorrow.