Tuesday, March 04, 2008

After enduring SNL mockery, the media start to do their job

Reagan observed in his diary that the local press often asked much more intelligent questions that the national media. It took the local press to ask Sen. Obama his first difficult questions, as MSNBC reports:
From NBC/NJ’s Aswini Anburajan
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Led by the Chicago press corps that has covered Obama for years, the candidate today faced a barrage of questions in what turned out to be a contentious news conference.

Questions centered on why his campaign had denied that a meeting occurred between his chief economic advisor and Canadian officials as well as questions on his relationship with Tony Rezko, a Chicago land developer and fast food magnate, now on trial for corruption charges.

Ed Morrissey contrasts Obama's performance with McCain's:

It appears that the local press has managed to do what the national media could not — treat Obama as a politician and not a secular messiah. They asked tough questions about Obama’s political connections to a fixer and his campaign’s outright false answers on an Obama adviser’s contacts with Canadian diplomats regarding Obama’s rhetoric on NAFTA. Instead of handling the questions calmly and patiently, Obama accused the media of having an agenda against him, and then angrily stalked off.

Compare this to the press conference John McCain held after the New York Times smeared him by accusing him of having a sexual affair with a lobbyist. Not only did McCain — whose temper has its own zip code, according to some Capitol Hill staffers — give a lengthy and reserved statement, but then stood at the podium until the reporters ran out of questions. In fact, at the end, McCain had to ask twice whether anyone had anything else to ask him before leaving the podium.

By my count, McCain answered 36 questions in this press conference. How many did Obama take before walking off in a huff?

Many people profess concern that McCain lacks the proper temperament for the presidency. Instead, they should wonder just how a President Obama would deal with the press and with the accountability that comes with the office. If today’s press conference gives any indication, it looks like Obama has some temper and judgment issues of his own — or that the questions strike a little too close to home.

Powerline has some video. Dana Milbank at the Washington Post offers a theory for what caused the media to ask its first serious questions of Sen. Obama:
SAN ANTONIO It took many months and the mockery of "Saturday Night Live" to make it happen, but the lumbering beast that is the press corps finally roused itself from its slumber Monday and greeted Barack Obama with a menacing growl.

Sen. Obama has the strong chance of being the next US president and only now, toward the close of the primary season, has anyone in the media has asked him any tough questions.

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