Dan Gainor

It’s been a year since the American public first said “I do” to Barack Obama and it’s still a honeymoon period for the mainstream press. The first year of marriage might have been a bit rocky, but journalists still have that crush on Obama.

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The first time they ever really saw him speak, their hearts leapt. It was love at first sight. The media already had a betrothed who had promised them “Hillarycare” and taught them “It Takes a Village.” That all changed when Obama gave the keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in 2004. At ABC, Charles Gibson predicted: “Last night, a political star may have been born.”

In early 2007, as his presidential campaign wore on, more and more media types turned their back on their former love Hillary. They embraced Obama – none more than MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, whose “thrill going up my leg” became a permanent state of excitement for both him and his network.

Journalists were looking for a relationship – “Single journalists ISO return to Camelot coupled with PC racial sensitivity.” They spoke lovingly of his boundless optimism and gave a huge boost to his campaign. As the election neared, the media treated it like a coronation or an ascension. “People have called you ‘the savior,’ ‘the messiah,’ ‘the messenger of change,’” said NBC’s Matt Lauer to Obama just two weeks before the nation voted.

On Nov. 4, the wedding ceremony commenced. Like most spouses, the media promised to love Obama “for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.” Those two became major themes for the blossoming relationship. Soon after Obama was elected, the mainstream media began promoting his stimulus plan.

Journalists hid the biggest issues of the $787 billion package – how to pay for it. Less than 2 percent of the network stories showed viewers the money and they relied on stimulus supporters more than twice as often as anyone who had questions. NBC reporter Scott Cohn said that for one struggling Indiana community, the stimulus “could be a matter of survival.”

This wasn’t just an economic relationship. Journalists had a schoolgirl crush – eager to see their man playing basketball, talking to the press or vacationing. “Fit to serve: Barack Obama photographed shirtless in Hawaii and a lot of women are giving him the presidential seal of approval,” gasped NBC’s Matt Lauer at the beginning of the “Today” show Dec. 23.


Dan Gainor

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow and director of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute.