For presidents, the media can be your best friend or worst enemy. At the moment, President Obama could be witnessing the end of what some have called a cozy relationship with the mainstream media as controversies from Benghazi to the IRS and now The Associated Press are taking their toll.
“You have to understand here how it sounds like the administration might be hiding something,” CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin said of the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups.
“It’s chilling,” NBC News’s Chuck Todd said of the AP phone grab. “I guess they owe us an explanation.”
Even his biggest supporters, like MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews, are heading for the door.
“He doesn’t want to run the United States government,” Matthews said of Obama. “And that has been the problem. Why isn’t he angry, really angry about what happened with the IRS?”
If you’re the president, this is not a good sign.
Now the media is also changing its tune on the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack that claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Only CBN News reporter Sharyl Attkinson pursued the case from the beginning, long before her mainstream colleagues.
“The media’s not always consistent in the vigor that they use to pursue a given topic,” she told CBN News.
“And I do think the media did not use the opportunity in the weeks and months after Benghazi to be as persistent and as pointed as they should have considering the importance of the issue in my view,” she said.
Attkisson says she’s definitely received pushback from the White House.
“The White House called about an article I wrote a week or so ago,” she said. “They personally push me back. I’m used to that. That’s their job. Sometimes the harder they push the more I believe we’re mining fertile area.”
Attkisson has been applauded by conservative groups for her tenacious reporting. She says CBS executives supported her coverage despite having a tough time getting her Benghazi stories on television.
“Every story that you present as a reporter has to be bought by a broadcast meaning,” she explained, “not purchased for money, but you have to get them interested in it so maybe the evening news wants one story, morning news wants a story, and there hasn’t been an appetite for the stories that I’ve offered on Benghazi.”
The perfect storm of Benghazi, the IRS and the AP phone logs story leads to an even larger question:
“Do you think there’s a disappointment to a certain degree within liberal camps?” CBN News’s David Brody asked Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank.
“I think there’s a huge disappointment,” he replied.
Milbank recently wrote that “one hundred days into his second term, Obama has already lost control of the agenda, if he ever had control in the first place.”
Milbank told CBN News that Obama’s lifeless, submissive attitude has hurt him.
“It struck me that it was just oddly passive for this president who had just won a second term to be sort of resigning himself to that and saying ‘I’ll just see what they do up there, there’s only so much I can do, I’m going to wash my hands of the whole thing,’ Milbank said. “It was odd for him not to be out there fighting more for his agenda.”
Now, it seems like the only fighting this president is doing is fighting off scandals.