Mon, 26 Jan 2009 15:21:12 +0000 – After our nation suffered through more than five years of press members in the full grips of Bush Derangement Syndromeconcluding with an election cycle when so-called "journalists" unashamedly showed their support for one presidential candidate, is it possible they could ever lose that loving feelingfor Barack Obama and begin actually blaming things on him?
Before casting this aside with a quick brush of the hand, consider what's happened since Inauguration Day.
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I kid you not.
A growing media frustration with Barack Obama's team spilled into the open at Thursday's briefing, with reporters accusing the White House of stifling access to his oath re-do and giving Obama's first interview as president to a multi-million dollar inauguration sponsor.
Veteran CBS newsman Bill Plante was one of the most vocal critics, questioning the White House's handling of Wednesday night's second swearing in - which was covered by just a four-reporter print pool that didn't include a news photographer or TV correspondent.
He also asked new press secretary Robert Gibbs why ABC, which paid millions to host the DC Neighborhood Ball, was granted the only inauguration day interview with President Obama - a move he equated to "pay to play." [...]
It's been a bumpy 24 hours for Gibbs and company, as members of the White House press corps have publicly expressed frustration with an administration promising openness and transparency.
At the same time, some members of the Obama administration's press team have signaled that they plan to shake up some of the old traditions of White House coverage, some of the longest-standing - and most jealously guarded - in town.
The following day the CBS "Early Show" actually discussedwhether or not Obama's decision to close the terrorist detention center in Guantanamo Bay was a good one. Co-host Maggie Rodriguez even had the unmitigated audacity to question the wisdom of this move by citing a New York Times revelation that a recently released terror suspect is now the head of Al Qaeda in Yemen.
Later that night, CNN's Campbell Brown severely chastisedPresident Obama for quickly going back on a new ethics rule he had just imposed by executive order two days prior.
Oh, the humanity!
If such fair and balanced reporting makes you wonder if the honeymoon is already over, you're not alone.
A reporter questioned Gibbs about this on Thursday. According toThe Washington Times he responded, "I should ask you that."
What a surprise: the key spokesman for the president who promised a new transparency on the campaign trail didn't answer this question either.
On the flipside, as this was only Day Two, maybe it was a tad premature to discuss a divorce especially as the idea that Obama-loving media would ever become disenchanted with the object of their affection defies conventional wisdom.
Or does it?
With virtually every media outlet downsizing, the competition for attention-getting stories has got to be stronger than ever. As these layoffs occur, and get diligently disseminated by The Drudge Report, journalists who are still employed must be feeling a little uncomfortable with their futures.
Isn't it likely the self-preservation instinct, assuming it exists in this industry, will trump political ideology in a bad economy? Will a recession force the news media to replace the advocacy so unfortunately prevalent the past five years with "gotcha" journalism?
Such questions aren't to imply that gotchas weren't part of the disgraceful reporting we've witnessed since "Bush Derangement Syndrome" aka BDS first infiltrated the press in 2003.
However, since these folks helped get Obama elected, unless they're going to change their party affiliation (and don't hold your breath on that one) they may be forced to end their advocacy if they want to stay employed.
Noel Sheppard is associate editor of the MediaResearchCenter's NewsBusters.org. He welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.