Did you hear the one about how after Barack Obama became president this week he found out the economy was worse than he thought–so he had to lay off 17 journalists.
The only reason the joke works is because it has an air of believability to it. Just about everybody–and by everybody I mean Republicans and Democrats–know that a lot of the mainstream media rolled over for Obama during the campaign. I suspect reporters want to show that they’re not the slobbering clowns a lot of Americans think they are. What better way to show their toughness than to pepper the president with “impertinent” questions when he comes down to their pressroom for a social visit, when all he wanted to do was say hello. But have no fear: the president’s honeymoon with the mainstream media isn’t even close to being over. As a print reporter who covered the Bush White House told me: When a Republican president takes office reporters think they’re self-appointed prosecutors. But no one wants to prosecute Nelson Mandela. And Obama is a lot more like Mandela, to a lot of reporters, than he is to some run-of-the-mill liberal like Dick Durbin. Let’s just call Obama’s little tiff with the press a lovers’ quarrel.
– Bernard Goldberg is author of A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media.