So you think that President Obama’s rise stemmed in part from media favoritism? Reid Cherlin, a former Obama campaign media liaison and later a White House spokesman, has different ideas, as outlined in a Rolling Stone piece:
No, Barack Obama never had reporters eating out of his hand the way that right-wingers love to allege — even though Obama’s intellectual approach made him seem like someone who could just as easily have been a columnist as a candidate. Appearing at his first Correspondents’ Dinner, in 2009, the president joked, “Most of you covered me; all of you voted for me.” But even as polite laughter settled over the black-tie crowd, there was ample evidence that the old way of the news business — in fact, the news business entirely – was falling away, and with it, the last shreds of comity between subject and scribe.
Time to book Cherlin on a conference panel with Mark Halperin. The co-author of “Game Change” and well-traveled pundit and reporter said after Obama’s 2008 victory: “It’s the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war. It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage.”
Even as he absolves the media of pro-Obamaism, Cherlin rebukes one of its Beltway standbys:
Even as Obama was showing off an electrifying knack for motivating and organizing people, his team was beginning to grapple with what was quite obviously a media world in the throes of reinvention. To start with, there was Politico, a website founded just as the race began. Opinionated, grabby and lightning-quick, Politico played to the adrenaline junkie in every reader with content that was cheap to produce and a subject – the vagaries of political fortune – that was inexhaustible. Obama’s advisers detested Politico from the start, accurately recognizing its potential to wreak havoc on their carefully crafted narratives, and to inspire their competitors to indulge in the same bad habits.
Surely Politico has its drawbacks, but the ability to upend crafted White House narratives — can’t we all agree that’s a good thing?