James Taranto’s take on the kerfuffle about Bob Woodward and Gene Sperling seems pretty credible to me:
The email does seem at odds with Woodward’s description of it, but that disparity is one of tone. Woodward’s description of the email exchange made it sound hostile and combative, whereas the tone of the actual emails is reasonable and conciliatory. But Sperling’s email makes clear right off the bat that there is a context to which outside observers are not privy: The emails were preceded by a “conversation” in which Sperling “raised my voice” to such an extent that he felt it necessary to apologize in writing.
Our surmise is that the email exchange was an exercise in rationalization rather than candor–that both Sperling and Woodward were concealing their anger in an attempt to come across as reasonable to each other and to themselves. In the CNN interview, by contrast, Woodward failed (if he attempted at all) to hide his feelings and thus gave an emotionally more accurate portrayal of his exchange with Sperling, even if the inference that there was a threat involved turned out to be mistaken.
You’ve got to consider the context and the context was Bob Woodward being yelled at by Gene Sperling for an hour. Maybe Woodward was yelling back but to the best of my knowledge there isn’t any documentation of that.