Catching up with the Wall Street Journal over the weekend, I read Friday’s long profile of Bill Burton by Peter Nicholas and Carol Lee. Buried deep in the story is this little nugget:
Some [in the White House press corps] enjoyed his sharp sense of humor but not his role as media enforcer. In 2009, for example, he tried to browbeat a Wall Street Journal reporter into keeping quiet about the Obama family dog, Bo, soiling Air Force One, saying it would expose the White House to conservative criticism for failing to be a good steward of presidential property. (Despite the protests, it ended up in a Journal blog.)
Here is the October 2009 Journal blog post, by Elizabeth Williamson. Two notes. The White House treated the story as a secret of state; a press official denied it. Williamson’s dogged (forgive me) reporting turns up a key source to confirm it. Omitted from the post, however, is any hint of pressure applied to the Journal not to report it. That, folks, is the story, and it apparently took the Journal more than two years to mention it. At least those Journal reporters have a long memory!