I can’t escape the feeling that many in the media are fixated on puncturing the Obama image in a way they never were with Bush. From 2001—2005, reporters boasted about the nicknames Bush gave them, now they boast about having asked Obama a “tough question”. What changed?
Party. And the psychology.
The D.C. media is all caught up in a high school bully-nerd dynamic.
With Bush, he was the bully, and they were happy to roll over and submit. His snide nicknames were lapped up as endearing, “Did you see that? The star quarterback talked to me!” (Sure, he made fun of your mustache and called you "Pubes" but who's counting?)
It wasn’t until Bush was completely exposed and isolated that they felt like they could even question him…think everyone laughing at the bully in a movie after he gets his nose bloodied.
But with Obama (and Gore) they felt emboldened because while they were the valedictorians, and thus superior to the rabble in the press, they needn’t be feared—and also deserving of being taken down so the press could feel better about itself for being abused for 8 years.
So the media would assume the bully role and then denigrate the President.
As it happens that dynamic favors the GOP at the moment (as opposed to during JFK/LBJ), and that will be tough to ever shift all the way over, but the GOP is rapidly becoming the wannabe jock that can’t make the team, and while a loudmouth and a bully in style, cannot back it up.
The GOP gets play now simply as a weapon or tool for the media to use to bring Obama down a notch—not because Cheney, Boehner or Newt are feared or respected in the media any more.