President Barack Obama is peeved with the American press. They never say "thank you," he whined to journalists in Japan on Monday.
According to the pool report from the press conference, one reporter said "Thank you, Mr. President." Someone said the reporter was Australian.
"I knew it must have been an Australian because my folks never say thank you," Obama said.
At that, the entire American pool said in unison -- admittedly with a bit of sarcasm -- "Thank you, Mr. President."
PM Gillard could be heard chiming in, "There are a few cheeky Australians here."
At first glance, Obama's comment reeks of arrogance. He seems to think that press access is a privilege, not a right, and that he is under no obligation to even speak to reporters.
But remember, Obama's media approach has been notable in that he has often circumvented traditional reporters in favor of new media and social networks. In doing so, he has been able to avoid tough questions, while still getting his message out - often to more people than would see, for instance, a cable news broadcast.
Either explanation speaks volumes about Obama's attitude towards the press. Sure, journalists voted overwhelmingly for Obama over John McCain (a fact Obama himself has acknowledged). If that were not enough to secure the president's good will, the media seemed to do everything in their power to make sure Obama's path to the White House was clear, burying his connection to leftist radicals, and hyping racism accusations against his political opponents.
And yet, despite the hurdles American journalists have jumped over to get Obama in office, he still doesn't like them, and apparently thinks they owe him, not the other way around. Go figure.