Thursday, February 28, 2013


Here's a tweet Josh Marshall wrote this morning:

A few hours ago, in my comments, Aimai wrote:
Woodward's "I saw Obama biting the heads off small children" moment was over in an absolute flash.... The outrage spin cycle seems to be moving faster and faster and rinsing out rather fully.
Even Politico, which turned the non-threat of Woodward into a phony story in the first place, now quotes a large number of journalists who say it was absurd to regard what Gene Sperling e-mailed to Woodward as a threat.

So the story's over ... right?

Not everywhere. Here's the front page of as I type:

Fox Nation is, similarly, still giving Woodward a banner headline. Fox News Insider just posted an item headlined "Mark Levin Blasts White House for Woodward Threats: 'We Have an Imperial President Who Doesn't Want to Debate Opposition.'" And if Sean Hannity has canceled his "exclusive interview" with Woodward on Fox tonight, I haven't heard about it.

People who are paying attention now realize that the threat story is an embarrassment -- but the lumpen audience for right-wing rage is presumed not to know any such thing, or to be inclined to skepticism about the debunking. Fox assumes the angry base still believes Obama is a press-threatening bully because Fox-style propaganda has persuaded the base that Obama is a vicious, jackbooted totalitarian (when he's not a pathetic, Teleprompter-dependent, mom-jeans-wearing stumblebum). So the story is still alive in Fox Land.

Aimai, in her comment, writes:
the outrages that they are manufacturing seem to be more and more disconnected even from the fantasy horrors of their base. This woodward thing is so transparently a mere fraud on the press itself--it has nothign to do even with the reflex "chicago politics" and "obama is a thug" masturbatory fantasies of the base.
Well, now that you mention it.... Let's go to the Web site of Joe the Plumber -- no, seriously -- and check out a post by Wurzelbacher collaborator Rodney Lee with the totally not-racist title "Barack Thugs-N-Harmony":
Why is everyone so surprised? No one who's been paying attention at all over the past 40 years in Illinois is even batting an eye that Bob Woodward, of all people, has been threatened by the White House. These are folks from Illinois, folks. You know, Daley, Rostenkowski, Blagojevich, Daley, George Ryan, and for you old-schoolers -- Dan Walker or Paul Powell -- take your pick...

People in Illinois who are able to string two sentences together knew who David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, Rahm Emmanuel, and Alice Palmer were, and when Barack Obama was elected President [in 2008], there was a big "you ain't seen nothing yet" being muttered across the Land 'O Lincoln.

They knew what was coming to DC: Illinois-style villains, criminals, hucksters and hustlers. Nothing off-limits or off the table. Full-blown lies and corruption the likes of which the rest of the country apparently wasn't ready for. In Illinois, it's a political culture that's been in place for more than 100 years....

You think they need Bob Woodward on their side? He's more useful as an example to all other "journalists" who might think about veering off the program for a minute....
This is going to be like birtherism -- it's never going to go away. The crazies are going to tell us until they draw their last breaths that Obama threatened poor, innocent Bob Woodward, because thuggishness is central to Obama's nature and endemic to the political culture from which he emerged.

It's just one more item in the billion-count indictment of Obama they all keep in their heads, but Fox and certain other media outlets know that you can never stoke too much anger in these people, and there are very few stories that are too crazy for the rubes to believe. I call it ignorance arbritrage -- if you can't sell the notion of Obama-as-thug to people who are paying attention, there are plenty of low-info voters who'll be happy to buy it.


trnc said...

CNN at 6:30 EST, long after Woodward's bs was out in the open - "Did the White House try to intimidate a journalist?"

Stay classy, Blitzer.

aimai said...

Well, i agree that it will serve as a token of Chicago thuggery for years to come, but I don't agree that it matters or that it tickles the innards of Fox's base. I doubt if more than a few of them remember Woodward, and certainly they don't care if the press is beaten up--hell, its another tenet of their faith system that the press should be beaten up. In five minutes they won't remember who Woodward is and they don't care what was said to him, or by who. Fox needs a constant cycle of random hysteria just to fill the 24/7 but it really doesn't matter who is up for the two minutes hate today. If it weren't woodward it would be some grandma who can't get her false teeth under obamacare, or some boy scout who is denied his badge by the new -gay-friendly-scouts.

My point is that its stopping having any meaning beyond the dead enders watching Fox. And there are fewer and fewer of them. They already think whatever it is they think and nothing will change that. But the rest of the world--? Uh, yeah, they know that Woodward is a wimp who tried to fake himself a little street cred. The publication of his bootlicking response to Sperling does him in as much as Sperling's non confrontational first email.


The Kenosha Kid said...

I'm so glad they are adding Illinois to California and New York as evil-by-default states. That's about 22% of the US population they are writing off.

Examinator said...

My take is that was two people of opposing view points getting a little testosterone excessive.
What we don't know is the tone and threat's (Pressure) Woodie would have offered. From all reports he's not the most diplomatic person either.
I've yet to meet a journalist who won't push some ones buttons to get a 'news worthy response'
Frankly woodie is looktowards his retirement funding i.e. a new book.
As Sut Jhally has pointed out "the media's primary task isn't to inform the public it is to supply advertisers with access to your attention" and nothing succeed better than a faux sensation.

Victor said...

"I call it ignorance arbritrage -- if you can't sell the notion of Obama-as-thug to people who are paying attention, there are plenty of low-info voters who'll be happy to buy it."

Can't touch it!!!

You've been on some roll lately, Steve! :-)

Steve M. said...

Thanks, Victor.

And Aimai, sorry, but I think Fox and the rest of the right-wing media operate on keeping the outrage fresh and sustaining old grievances.

And the audience is dying off, but not fast enough to prevent a possible Republican Senate after 2014, or (given Supreme Court rulings on campaign finance and, soon, on voting rights) a Republican president in 2016.

Ten Bears said...

Keeping the Kool-Aid fresh. And it is Kool-Aid. Big Barrel.

No fear...

Ten Bears said...

While caveat should not be necessary, Woodward's recent behavior is a bit scary: it is ever with tongue firmly in cheek when I air upon illegal aliens - you know, Aliens - cooking up Stepford Clones of prominient insiders in claudistine laboratories deep within the bowels of the World Trade Center, and I mark no apologies for my contempt of kool-aid guzzling rubes blissfully stumbling down the paths of ignorance but man... this remarkable deviation in long term behavior is really rather sudden. Has he been dosed? Does he really want to eat your brains? Is there really something in the water? Have the Elohim re-established a secret facility to churn out Stepfords? Inquiring minds want to know.

No fear...

Bulworth said...

I eagerly await the onset of FauxDrudge insinuations that the emails the WH released between Sperling and Woodward weren't really the actual real emails that were exchanged, and the WH is of course stonewalling on releasing them.