You couldn't blame President Barack Obama for shaking his head in disbelief, even disgust, at the way the media treat him here in his second term. It does seem as if the president can't catch a break from reporters. And the point can't be lost on him one bit.
The president must think, deep down, "What do they want from me? I won in 2008, against John McCain, a certifiable war hero and a Senate darling, as the nation's first African-American candidate. Then, in 2012, after everyone wrote me off as a sure loser, I drubbed Mitt Romney by campaigning on my record in the first term. Hey, I've done it all — and still they won't give me a break!"
There has been evidence that President Obama has lost a segment of the media. It appears that you can't throw a rock in Washington without hitting an Obama skeptic somewhere. Maureen Dowd, the caustic New York Times columnist, is sharpening her poison pen. The Sunday morning talk shows don't even try to give him the benefit of the doubt anymore.
Of course, this predicament is nothing new to the president, mind you. He has encountered naysayers for his whole life, especially in politics. He went through a severe cross-examination throughout his first term, too. Whatever he did was wrong, wrong, wrong. Even liberal Democrats, his reliable base during the 2008 campaign, began to turn on him.
The liberals were dismayed because Obama no longer seemed to display the dash, the panache, and the charisma that had been like a second skin for him during the campaigning. Instead, he seemed to be indecisive, wonky, and afraid to fail. It was a stunning departure for a politician who had emerged practically from nowhere, by the dint of his magnetic smile and riveting speeches.
What does the future hold for the public image of this curious man named Barack Obama?
Well, he has three-and-a-half years to set things right. Don't sell him short.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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