For this week’s NewsBusters Time Machine, we look back at one of the most over-the-top examples of journalistic fawning over Barack Obama. Remember when Terry Moran compared the Democrat to George Washington and said that the presidency is a “step down” for Obama? It happened ten years ago this week.
Appearing on a Mediabistro podcast on February 20, 2009, the Nightline co-anchor rhapsodized, “I like to say that, in some ways, Barack Obama is the first President since George Washington to be taking a step down into the Oval Office.” (For those who have forgotten, George Washington, prior to becoming president, defeated the strongest military power in the world. Obama was a state and U.S. senator.)
Moran continued, “I mean, from visionary leader of a giant movement, now he's got an executive position that he has to perform in, in a way.”
On Twitter later, On his Twitter page later, Moran tried to revise his adulation: “I said like only Washington, Obama came to office as more than a politician, a visionary leader for many. Now's he's got a job.”
A partial transcript of the podcast interview follows:
Mediabistro.com's Morning Media Menu
STEVE KRAKAUER: I want to talk about another issue, just sort of the campaign and covering Barack Obama. You know, you were on the campaign trail covering the President, interviewed him several times before he was elected, and since have sort of gone back on this trail of sorts as he tries to sell the stimulus plan around the country. And interviewed him as well last week. What do you see as the difference in coverage that he's getting since he's been in office?
TERRY MORAN: Well, now he's got the job. I like to say that, in some ways, Barack Obama is the first President since George Washington to be taking a step down into the Oval Office. I mean, from visionary leader of a giant movement, now he's got an executive position that he has to perform in, in a way. And I think that the coverage reflects that. How does he do? Uh, how does he do navigating the shoals of politics in Washington and Congress? How does he do formulating actual policy, as opposed to articulating ideals? And do we like that policy? Will it work? So he's getting more regular scrutiny, as is necessary. I also think that there's something in the White House Press Corps, which is healthy, where you're judged by your peers, to some extent, on how tough you can be. How sharp your questions are, how aggressive your coverage is, that's the standard for success among White House reporters. And I think he's essentially learning, for many White House reporters, they wake up every morning thinking 'How do I take a pound of flesh out of the President today?' And all that is healthy.