For years, the media insisted that Bush’s opposition to gay marriage was nothing but an effort to rile up his base. I think that was too simplistic, but obviously there was some truth to it as well. But the simple version became part of the defining narrative for much of the mainstream media. That interpretation was part of the news. Now Obama is pandering to his base on gays (“don’t ask, don’t tell”) and immigration and yet the mainstream coverage makes it seem as if he’s simply offering leadership. This is one of the subtle ways in which liberal bias really does play into coverage. When the elite press agrees with the president’s actions they see “leadership” when they disagree with the president they assume it must be either “ideological” extremism or rightwing pandering.