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Bob Woodward may end up with more than one thing to regret out of his sequester reporting. Rather than making the White House look bullying, Woodward's claim that he was threatened by a senior White House official has made Woodward look ridiculous—and has brought some attention to questions about Woodward's reporting going back decades.

Now that the full email from White House economic adviser Gene Sperling has been released, reporters who cover the White House are lining up to laugh at the idea that it constitutes a threat.

"I get emails like this almost every hour, whether it's from the White House or Capitol Hill," said Chuck Todd, the NBC News political director and senior White House correspondent. "For better or worse, flacks get paid to push back." [...]

"I’m not saying the White House doesn’t pressure reporters all the time and put the heat on reporters covering the White House. I’ve heard many, many stories that they do," [Fox New Host Bret] Baier continued. "But this particular incident and this particular email, I’m not sure that characterizing it as a threat—I think Bob Woodward has a little bit of explaining to do about that characterization."

Woodward, for his part, is trying to fend off some of the mockery by insisting that he never used the word "threat"—but that Sperling's email was a "coded, 'you better watch out.'" (So, a threat. In slightly different words.) But while political reporters are rolling their eyes and it's highly unlikely that actual voters give a shred of a damn about the whole thing, Sean Hannity said, in introducing Woodward's latest appearance on Hannity's show, that "the Obama administration, they're going to be the ones who regret picking this fight." So watch out, Obama administration! You're in trouble now.

Meanwhile, the whole thing raises the question: If this is how accurately Woodward describes an email that can be produced to show how badly he's exaggerating, how much should readers trust his decades of startling claims and reliance on anonymous sources? Far from embarrassing the White House, Woodward may have managed to damage his own reputation.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 08:02 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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