Was Last Week the Media's Worst?

Has it really been 100 days of fawning press coverage of President Barack Obama?

Actually, it’s a lot more.  It began at least a year before he wrested the 2008 Democratic nomination out of Hillary Clinton’s hands.  But the coverage of the “first 100 days” may have sunk to a new low.

It seems only yesterday when mainstream news outlets first started lobbing softballs at 1600 Pennsylvania’s newest occupant.  But the media template on the new president, as conservative talker Rush Limbaugh so often dubs it, was perfected in just three short months.

Cool. Self assured. Calm. Masterful. And the best is yet to come.

Don’t expect the next 100 days … or his next four years … to see much change in that.

Reuters started its wire feature on the 100-day mark press conference describing how Obama does the work of many politicians all at once. “He was his own surgeon general, since he has yet to appoint anyone to the job, offering common-sense to Americans on how to deal with the threat of swine flu.”

But the Reuters report wasn’t done: Obama is also the nation’s top human rights advisor and its philosopher in chief. Who knew one measly vote could bring us all of the above?

Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales didn’t bother to hide his adulation for the new president. Here’s his take on Obama’s 100-day press conference:

“You ask, he’ll answer — earnestly, disarmingly, enchantingly, even — and most of the time convincingly, which is no small accomplishment for a politician.”

And, of course, no 100 day mark would be complete without remarking on his coolness factor.

Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times’ Washington bureau Chief Lynn Sweet all but reciting the administration’s talking points with the help of an enamored historian:

“When it comes to that style, Obama has maintained his cool — in the literal and cultural sense.

Obama is "unflappable no matter what static or noise seems to surround him. He stays in a Zenlike mode," presidential historian Doug Brinkley told me.

But Brinkley isn’t the only one swooning over The One.

NBC’s “The Today Show” turned to Newsweek scribe Fareed Zakaria to paint the first 100 days in the most glowing terms possible.

How glowing?

“I don’t think any president has had as much success as Obama has…this guy gets this new world, this post-American world that I talk about, and he’s acting in a way that will secure America’s interests."

Best. President. Ever.

When CNN was done wringing Brinkley for more exhaustively positive Obama praise in an article for the web, it turned inward to CNN commentator Bill Scheider. How does Schneider view Obama’s failed attempt to win more Republican votes in the Senate?

“Republicans haven’t responded to Obama’s outreach, and "it’s causing serious political damage to their party,” he said.

Some news outlets took the occasion to describe the man at work. And oh, is he a wonder to behold. Here‘s how the New York Times revealed Obama in action on the occasion of his 100th day in office.

“Tutored by veterans of past administrations, Mr. Obama, often after dinner with his wife and daughters, devoured briefing papers until midnight to master the intricacies of the auto industry.

New York’s Newsday played the “mastery” card to even greater effect:

“WASHINGTON – Forced to come to account on his 100th day in the White House, President Barack Obama last night displayed a mastery of a wide range of issues but also surprisingly admitted that he wishes he’d been dealt an easier hand.”
Give credit to the Los Angeles Times for both succumbing to Obama fever and mocking it all at once.

“Maybe it was that head start, or his famous unflappability, but as president, Obama moved quickly to assert himself and begin reordering policies at home and abroad. The media, always a bit fawning over a new chief executive, breathlessly chronicled O bama’s every move. He walked toward his Marine One helicopter with "a manifestly brisk stride," a wire service wrote, and shunned a raincoat and umbrella as though impervious to rain.

Does anyone recall the media fawning, for even a day, over President George W. Bush?

USA Today wrapped its coverage of Obama’s appearance in Arnold, Mo. with this nugget from one of the people attending the event.

"I felt like I caused a lot of the problems with the way the economy is by voting for Republicans. I feel guilty. I do," she said.

Sounds like a proud MSNBC viewer.

Few reporters took a back seat to Howard Fineman, Newsweek’s Senior White House Correspondent, writing at

"Of all the folks I’ve covered, he is the most comfortable in his own skin and with his on-stage role as a leader. This was true at the beginning of his campaign, and remains a reality through the first months of his presidency … He not only represents a new administration and a shift in governing philosophy, but he also embodies the ideals of a fresh leadership strategy."

“Obama seems to live — to have been born to live — calmly and confidently on a global stage with the hottest lights and biggest audience.”

Take a bow, denizens of the mainstream media. You’ve outdone yourself in just 100 days with your over-the-top love for the new president.