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Friday, July 25, 2008

Barack Obama and the MSM: The Break Up? II

A couple weeks back I wrote this piece hypothesizing that the MSM maybe losing some of their affection toward Barack Obama. To me, cold water was thrown on this hypothesis when all three networks decided to send their anchors to trail Obama as he travelled through the world. (something never afforded John McCain) After that announcement, I thought that I might have made such a hypothesis a bit early. Now, here is this largely unflattering piece of Obama's staff that makes a similar hypothesis in of all places the New Republic.

The piece believes that due to arrogance, some moments of deceit, and a recent significant lack of accessibility that many reporters have been turned off by the campaign. The story uses nearly all anonymous sources within the media brass. They are anonymous for obvious reasons and so I don't hold it against the piece like I normally do. Here is how one reporter describes it.

One reporter sniffs that Gibbs, a native Alabaman and veteran of John Kerry's 2004 campaign, is the "communications director who doesn't communicate." "If you're getting an interview, and they say ten minutes, it's ten minutes," adds Time's Karen Tumulty, who scored an interview with Obama in June. "Robert Gibbs will cut it off."

Here is the assessment from another.

Reporters who have covered Obama's biography or his problems with certain voter blocs have been challenged the most aggressively. "They're terrified of people poking around Obama's life," one reporter says. "The whole Obama narrative is built around this narrative that Obama and David Axelrod built, and, like all stories, it's not entirely true. So they have to be protective of the crown jewels." Another reporter notes that, during the last year, Obama's old friends and Harvard classmates were requested not to talk to the press without permission.

I have continued to notice a trickle of negative commentary from corners that are normally reserved for nothing but puff toward Obama. For instance, last week, the Washington Post had this scathing assessment of Obama's rigid timetable plan for Iraq. Andrea Mitchell proclaimed that his entire trip is nothing more than a staged campaign event not accessible to reporters. She did this on MSNBC, the network most in the tank for Obama. As I have already mentioned multiple times, both Terry Moran and Katie Couric really challenged Obama on his lack of admission that he was wrong to oppose the surge.

Certainly, all of this is anecdotal. There are so many media outlets that if you look hard enough you will always find a narrative to fit the one you want. That said, I think there continues to be growing evidence that the media is waking up from its Obama dream and they might even try doing their jobs. Don't get me wrong, there is no doubt they will always be heavily unbalanced toward him, however it is possible that we may even see them try and ask one or two difficult questions sometime during the campaign.

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