14 Jan 2009

Obama’s Captive and Domesticated Press

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Carol Marin, of the Chicago Sun Times, contrasts the MSM’s crusading zeal in dealing with Rod Blagojevich with its supine courtiership toward Barack Obama.

It was media deference and self-imposed restraint which made Obama’s electoral victory last November possible. A closer and more skeptical look at Obama’s mysterious life history, associations, and personal benefits connected with shady deals would have sunk his candidacy. Instead, the press operated as his personal fan club.

The honeymoon is still going on, but the day when all this changes will come.

As ferociously as we march like villagers with torches against Blagojevich, we have been, in the true spirit of the Bizarro universe, the polar opposite with the president-elect. Deferential, eager to please, prepared to keep a careful distance.

The Obama news conferences tell that story, making one yearn for the return of the always-irritating Sam Donaldson to awaken the slumbering press to the notion that decorum isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

The press corps, most of us, don’t even bother raising our hands any more to ask questions because Obama always has before him a list of correspondents who’ve been advised they will be called upon that day.

We reporters have earned our own membership in the Bizarro universe.

Who are we, after all? The ones rapid-firing at Rod Blagojevich with tough questions until we drive him from the room? Or the Miss Manners crowd, silent until called upon, quietly accepting that only a handful of questions will be taken at a time?

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