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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Does Obama Really Have an ‘Ambivalent’ Relationship With the National Media?



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I think Ben Smith is making a bit much out of one reference to the “mainstream media” by Obama.

Barack Obama used his first news conference after announcing his run for president to accuse the media of ignoring his substantive record and falsely depicting him as a lightweight.

“The problem’s not that the info’s not out there,” he said of his record on policy issues. “The problem is that that’s not what you guys have been reporting on. You’ve been reporting on how I look in a swimsuit.”

Obama’s peevish comment reflected an ambivalent relationship with the national media, rooted in his transformation from an obscure Chicago politician into a bona fide celebrity over just 2 1/2 years. Obama has been the subject of almost entirely favorable coverage from the national media, and his aides acknowledge that he’s parlayed that new profile into his presidential campaign. But Obama also espouses a new brand of politics aimed at transcending the celebrity obsessions and superficiality promoted by modern 24-hour news cycles. …

At the Ames press conference – the only such event of the weekend of his announcement – Obama departed from the standard question-and-answer exchange to assert his displeasure with what he said he sees as a developing storyline in the “mainstream media” – a term typically employed by its critics.

“One of the narratives that’s established itself among the mainstream media this notion, ‘Well you know, Obama has a pretty good style, he can deliver a pretty good speech, but he seems to prioritize rhetoric over substance,’” Obama said. “Well, factually, that’s incorrect.”

Is Obama actually exhibiting a “peevish” attitude toward the media, as the headline claims? Or is he basically saying, “Don’t call me a lightweight?”

Similarly, one can ask, “if Barack Obama is complaining about his press, doesn’t this pretty much mean every candidate is always complaining about his press?”


Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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