January 14, 2013
 President Obama addresses reporters during a news conference. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
President Obama addresses reporters during a news conference. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

At a time when the media are being blamed for mass shootings; burglaries against gun owners; burglaries against non-gun owners; failing to properly cast the debate over debt and taxes; and any number of other ills, President Obama may have added a novel entry to the well-worn Washington tradition of media blamedom. He suggested that certain reporters and editors are responsible for a big hole in his social life:

I think there are a lot of Republicans at this point that feel that given how much energy has been devoted in some of the media that’s preferred by Republican constituencies to demonize me, that it doesn’t look real good socializing with me. Charlie Crist down in Florida I think testifies to that. And I think a lot of folks say, “Well, you know, if we look like we’re being too cooperative or too chummy with the president, that might cause us problems; that might be an excuse for us to get a challenge from somebody in a primary.”

Sounds like a whine. What opus from conservative medialand could possibly have prompted this charge?

Could it be this ten-part series by the Washington Examiner? It starts from the premise that “beyond the spin and the polls, a starkly different picture emerges. It is a portrait of a man quite unlike his image, not a visionary reformer but rather a classic Chicago machine pol who thrives on rewarding himself and his friends with the spoils of public office, and who uses his position to punish his enemies.”

Could it be this piece by the Daily Caller? It provided deep reporting on a 1995 mortgage discrimination lawsuit that lawyer Barack Obama helped to pursue. The piece’s focus fell on the black clients who encountered financial difficulties: “Even before the 2007 crisis, at least 48 of Obama’s 186 African-American clients bankrupted or received foreclosure notices,” notes the piece.

And it couldn’t possibly be this Breitbart.com story, a widely discussed piece documenting that Obama, as a Harvard Law student, had hugged a man who believed in critical race theory.

Whether or not such stories irk the president, his remark boosts the stature of conservative media. He’s saying that the prospect of censure from right-leaning media outlets weighs heavily enough on Republican lawmakers that they won’t be seen hanging with the president. That’s called power.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.