Like Sands Through the Hour Glass: Obama and the Press

obama press 4.jpgObama and the press: it’s not easy to keep up. In lieu of a flow chart, a brief recap. Over the winter the Press had such a crush on Obama that SNL’s parody was considered an act of intervention, and Tina Fey was heralded as a sort of feminist hero. Then there was the whole Jeremiah Wright thing and it looked like the Press was finally going to do some quality vetting on the candidate, which the campaign appeared none to pleased about. Then there was a whole slew of flattering covers and a industry-wide call for Hillary to step down, then there was the New Yorker cover (which is a sell-out, by the way), and the Lizza article, and the Nagourney article (more on this in a second) after which the better part of the American press corps including all three network anchors picked up to follow Obama on his first international tour as a candidate; a trip which culminated in yesterday’s ich bin ein Berlin speech. At the moment, and certainly according to John McCain, the press LOVES Obama. However, not so fast says the New Republic, who is arguing that the press’s love affair with Barack may actually be over. The problem? Obama is no longer putting out.

Reporters who cover Obama these days grouse that Obama’s flacks shroud the campaign in secrecy and provide little to no access. “They’re more disciplined than the Bush people,” a reporter on the Obama trail gripes. “There was this idea of being transparent, but they’re not. They’re total tightwads with information.”

Obama’s press liaison, Robert Gibbs, has built a particularly large reservoir of ill will… described as “Obama’s hired gun, skillfully trained to shoot at reporters whose coverage was deemed unfair.”

Behold the case of top NYT political reporter Adam Nagourney, who wrote a page one article about Obama’s polling numbers, which ticked the campaign off so much they issued a point-by-point rebuttal without approaching the writer first. Says Nagourney: “I’ve never had an experience like this, with this campaign or others…I thought they crossed the line. If you have a problem with a story I write, call me first. I’m a big boy. I can handle it. But they never called. They attacked me like I’m a political opponent.” Maybe Obama needs a JFK-like lesson in how to LOVE the press, you get more flies with honey, after all.