Is Obama Playing Media Favorites?

url.jpgA line slipped in near the end of Mike Allen’s Politico article about the media coverage of Barack Obama’s overseas trip, is making some waves. Per Allen: “Among those for whom there was no room was Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent of The New Yorker. The campaign, which was furious about the magazine’s satirical cover this week, cited space constraints in turning him away.” (Hmm, sort of like the time John McCain neglected to invite the NYT to his health records viewing party.) Over at Eat the Press Rachel Sklar says the decision “sends a clear — and worrisome — signal from the Obama campaign: If we don’t like it, man, will you know it.” A decision, she points out, which merely reinforces a quote made in Lizza’s (amazingly researched, though not terribly flattering) article : “[Obama] earned a reputation that “‘you’re not going to punk me, you’re not going to roll me over, you’re not going to jam me.'”

It should be noted The New Yorker was not the only one cut out of the “Trip of the Century”; 200 people applied and only 40 were allocated spots. That said, The New Yorker is hardly your average magazine. As Gawker’s Ryan Tate points out,

Given the New Yorker’s circulation, influence and often heroic coverage of not only politics but also the war in Iraq (George Packer), U.S. intelligence and covert military operations (Seymour Hersh, Steve Coll), American torture (Jane Mayer) and the inner workings of the Bush administration, it’s hard to see the snub as anything other than payback.
Of course there’s always the question of whether all this media coverage of the trip is fair to begin with (hint: the GOP doesn’t really think so). For his part, the LAT‘s James Rainey says all this superstar coverage does no one any good, and just ends up reinforcing the idea that Obama is getting an “easy ride” from the media.

Speaking of perceptions, while the evidence points to a rise in coverage of the “Obama is a Muslim” rumor occurring prior to the New Yorker cover hitting stands, one wonders if this “snub” isn’t in some respects all about ego. Lord knows we are loath to agree with MoDo, but we wonder at times if she hasn’t hit on something in (endlessly) pointing out the Senator’s seemingly excessive attention to his personal appearance. Then again, we’re all narcissists these days!