Press Throwdown

by digby

Earlier today on MSNBC, Tamron Hall played the tape of Obama refusing to answer questions about Blagojevich today, chatted a bit about that and then asked a question:

Tamron Hall: He talked about transparency. We're seeing him in a tight situation with this Blagojevich thing. Are we seeing a different Barack Obama emerge?

Mark Murray, NBC news director deputy political director: We're seeing a Barack Obama that's actually trying to take control of the agenda. And that question was in reference to the Blagojevich scandal and Barack Obama said "I've already spoken about this. We're going to release all of our contacts the week of December 22nd," so for a reporter like me, obviously, that week will be big and if there isn't any news coming from them then the Obama folks really do have a problem.

However it really isn't a secret that Barack Obama really hasn't had a fantastic relationship with the press corps that's been following him over the last two years. There have been some testy moments. It's not surprising that Obama would be annoyed by a substantive and relevant question like we heard this morning.

Tamron Hall: Mark Whittaker said this morning --- the bureau chief for NBC --- that he's got to get used to answering these questions and maybe the press corps that's been following is really going to have to start pushing his so that they're not accused of what some were accused of when Bush was president of not asking the tough questions.

Mark Murray: No doubt about it Tamron, as we've seen in this press conference and in previous ones reporters were only allowed three questions. It came out of the pool reports today after that event that Barack Obama took more questions from students he was with rather than the reporters. So I think we're going to see reporters roll up their sleeves a little bit but no doubt when Obama becomes president in the white house he's going to get a LOT more questions than just three at media availabilities.
They're mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore.

The interesting things about this is that NBC bureau chief Mark Whittaker is throwing down the gauntlet to Obama and saying that the press feels it has something to prove after being accused of being Bush lapdogs. And his minion Murray is dutifully carrying the boss's water.

Eight years of relentless harassment and character assassination, during which time the village media felt that Clinton and then Gore were "getting away with too much" because none of the endless GOP generated scandals ever came to anything, and so they had to take him down. Then, in order to "prove" they weren't just childish scandal mongers after destroying Al Gore, they went the other way and laid on their backs and let Bush walk all over them as he oversaw the destruction of the country. Now, in order to once again "prove" they aren't lapdogs, they are going to pick up right where they left off eight years ago, asking endless questions about inconsequential nonsense and breathlessly speculating about what the inconsequential nonsense might mean until a whole lot of people think there must be something to it or these people wouldn't be talking about it so much.

It's a coincidence, I'm sure, that they only feel the need to make sure that politicians don't "get away with" anything when the politician is a Democrat and they only need to prove they aren't reflexively hostile when it's a Republican. I'm also sure that ill-informed bloggers speculating as to whether or not that might actually be a reflection of the political values of the political establishment would be wrong, so I'll refrain from doing it.