The president and the press

My Thoughts

Dr. Bill AtwoodMarch 6, 2013 

I am a great believer in the theory that leadership is the key to the organization. I think that a top-down approach is demonstrated time after time. A company, organization, or team lead by somebody who slacks off and doesn't give a 100% effort will reflect that leadership style and begin to crumple.

The same thing can be said about leadership styles when we see how people are treated who deal with a company. If the head of the company is an above-board, honest, forthright individual who treats his/her employees with honor, dignity and trust, then those employees will treat others the same way. An organization reflects the core beliefs of the leader.

Last week White House officials got miffed because they were called out on the president's remarks about the creation of Sequestration. Once again, the community organizer mentality had crept into the White House and the party line was that those dastardly Republicans had created this mess.

The national media lap dogs took up the mantra and it was going so well. Then Bob Woodward called the president on this issue. White House officials responded with yelling over the phone and then printed threats that Woodward would regret this. What is most concerning is that Lanny Davis was also stating he was attacked and threatened by White House officials. Davis' editor was told that the paper Davis writes for would lose their White House passes if Davis did not back off from being critical of you know whom. White House officials now admit that the president did introduce the idea of Sequestration.

Granted, it is not unusual for each White House staff to try to spin the news story to enhance the image of each president. But it is the job of the press to ask the questions of our political leaders. The duty of the Fourth Estate is to be the watchdog. Nixon tried the use of threats and got what he deserved.

Ironically, Woodward is involved in both stories. It was Woodward who, teamed with Bernstein, uncovered the Watergate scandal. The fact that Woodward is a journalistic icon, a known liberal, and an excellent reporter must frustrate the backers of the president. They can't blame Fox News for the problem because the problem occurred in the White House.

The danger here is that Woodward and Davis have the experience, the credentials and the clout to fight back against these attacks from The West Wing. Young reporters don't and these threats become very real to those new reporters giving them reason to "back away" from a story.

I noticed that the president did not criticize his staff for the threats. I did not hear his fellow Democrats chastise the staffers who made the threats. I did notice that David Pfloufe compared Woodward to a has-been athlete.

So White House staffers have also had to deal with the disaster of Sequestration. The golfer in chief decided to finally meet with Congressional leaders on the day it was to begin. Harry Reid, who is busy writing a budget from four years ago, and Nancy Pelosi, who likes to pass things prior to reading what is in them, joined with the president in meeting the two Republican leaders.

The Democrats want more tax revenue and no spending cuts while the Republicans are reminding the president he got the tax increase on Jan. 1 and the country is still waiting for the spending cuts. Nancy was probably sitting there telling Boehner and McConnell that there really isn't a spending problem in Washington.

So, horror of horrors and the beginning of Sequestration requires the federal government to not cut anything other than the amount of increase in future spending. That 2.4% cut is just about what every American middle class family had to cut starting in January when we got hit with the 2% Social Security tax increase.

So the president is doing what he does best -- He campaigns around the country blaming somebody else for the economic woes. What he doesn't do is tell Reid to get a budget passed. He doesn't tell his folks to sit with the two sides of the aisle and work out a deal. He doesn't take the legislation the Republicans offered to allow for appropriate cuts rather than the meat cleaver effect. No, he has his staff warn reporter's that "they will regret it" if they question the man in the oval office.

The man sitting behind the resolute desk has brought "Chicago style" politics onto the scene. He assured the White House press corps that he wasn't a dictator this past week.

It seems to me that in a free country the press is able to freely ask questions and to report on the actions of the elected leaders without fear of threat or intimidation. On the other hand, in countries lead by dictators, despots and tyrants, the reverse is true.

The Sierra Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service