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July 24, 2008

Claim: Press Growing Angry At Obama's High-Handed Strong-Arming Stone-Walling

No doubt they're feeling a bit spurned and abused at the hands of their paramour.

But, as I learned from What's Love Got to Do With It?, a woman in love will take a lot of abuse before giving up on her man.

Around midnight on July 16, New York Times chief political correspondent Adam Nagourney received a terse e-mail from Barack Obama's press office. The campaign was irked by the Times' latest poll and Nagourney and Megan Thee's accompanying front-page piece titled "Poll Finds Obama Isn't Closing Divide on Race," which was running in the morning's paper. Nagourney answered the query, the substance of which he says was minor, and went to bed, thinking the matter resolved. Barack Obama View Larger Image View Larger Image Barack Obama

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."

Okay, so if you write a story he doesn't like, he sics the nutroots on you. I can accept that. But it seems to me that Obama is extraordinarily thin-skinned and will sic the nutroots on you for just about anything. He expects the press to faithfully report his Message of the Day, every day, and gets angry when his lapdogs don't comply.

I find this unlikely:

As tensions escalate, the risk to Obama, of course, is that reporters will be emboldened to challenge his campaign ever more aggressively. At the same time, McCain has demonstrated a longstanding ability to deftly manage the press. After all, it wasn't long ago that McCain, short on cash and trailing in the Republican primaries, re-launched his campaign in New Hampshire by courting the press, "my base," as he once proudly put it. In June, the McCain camp unveiled its redesigned campaign plane, a Boeing 737 that recreates the Straight Talk Express bus, so reporters can assemble with McCain and shoot the breeze.

Now, Obama may be handing McCain a shot at winning back his "base." Of course, making ads that paint the media as Obama's stooges may not be the best way to accomplish that. But the press wants to put its love somewhere, and, right now, that love is up for grabs.

But who knows. If even Katie Couric can rouse herself to ask the Lamb of Chicago a few hard questions, maybe other members of the press can remember they're reporters, and not webmasters at the Official Barack Obama Fan Club website.


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posted by Ace at 06:03 PM

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