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Friday, July 25, 2008

 
The Frowning Sourpusses On The Bus

by dday

Digby writes about the press turning back on Obama out of sensitivity to the "liberal media" label. And that's true. So is the fact that they are small-c conservative, lazy, and easily led. But there's another factor. They're whiny little babies who aren't getting the access they demand by divine right, and sometimes the Obama campaign dares to question them.

But, the next morning, Nagourney awoke to an e-mail from Talking Points Memo writer Greg Sargent asking him to comment on an eight-point rebuttal trashing his piece that the Obama campaign had released to reporters and bloggers like The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder and Politico's Ben Smith. Nagourney had not heard the complaints from the Obama camp and had no idea they were so steamed. "I'm looking at this thing, and I'm like, 'What the hell is this?' " Nagourney recently recalled. "I really flipped out."

Later that afternoon, Nagourney got permission from Times editors to e-mail Sargent a response to the Obama memo. But the episode still grates. "I've never had an experience like this, with this campaign or others," Nagourney tells me. "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."


You know, the remedy to that is to not build an entire article out of completely misreading poll data.

But there's more. Seems that the Obama camapign, in addition to mildly standing up for its candidate, doesn't dole out the barbecue with the same vigor as the presumptive Republican nominee.

Last year, when Hillary Clinton campaigned as a front-runner, Obama provided access to the press corps and won over the media [...] But, as Obama ascended from underdog to front-runner to presumptive nominee, the flame seems to have dwindled. 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."

In June, there was something of a revolt after Obama ditched the press corps on his campaign plane for a secret meeting with Clinton at Senator Dianne Feinstein's house in Washington, leaving the reporters trapped on the flight to Chicago. The D.C. bureau chiefs of half a dozen news organizations, including the late Tim Russert, sent an angry letter to Obama aides Robert Gibbs and David Plouffe and threatened not to reimburse the campaign for the cost of the flight. "The decision to mislead reporters is a troubling one," they wrote. "We hope this does not presage a relationship with the Obama campaign that is not based on a mutual respect for the truth." After the incident, the press corps decided that one pool reporter would keep Obama in sight at all times. "It's a body watch," one reporter jokes.


It just goes on like that. The sense of entitlement is really incredible. Obama isn't a certified Village member in good standing as it is, so these indignities like keeping a private meeting private and holding a 10-minute interview to 10 minutes (yes, that's really a compliant) are magnified. The idea that the press considers the Obama campaign operation "young and arrogant" both really betrays their bias and displays a stunning lack of self-awareness.

After all, the press has lived through eight years of a notoriously tight-lipped and secretive White House, whose President would regularly demean them in public and call them major league assholes behind their back, and they lapped it all up, believing Bush to be a popular and mythic hero long after the public had turned away.

But of course, he was a Republican, and all that humiliation was just locker-room joshing. The Democrat is supposed to be afraid of the press, because they can take him or her down over an afternoon tea, and the fact that this guy isn't totally letting the media run roughshod over him must be deeply frustrating. It does not compute. And he's limiting access and maximizing his campaign time! How dare he!

Aside from all the laziness and hewing to narrative and all the rest, the press corps are, in general, exceedingly vain. When the Village makes the decision that they are offended (and somehow they didn't through eight years of a President who held them in the utmost contempt), they will lash out. And so expect this over the next several weeks.


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