The roundtable panel for today's Morning Joe took a stab at President Obama's frustration with the media for being critical of his BP oil spill response. The segment began with a clip of President Obama's testy, self-defensive comment to NBC's Matt Lauer, wherein the commander-in-chief blustered that he was determined to learn "whose ass to kick" for the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Time magazine political analyst Mark Halperin found the President's anger at the media "ironic" because, "no one in the modern era has ever gotten into the Oval office with the press as glowing as Barack Obama did. For him, this is a new experience." [WMV video available here; MP3 audio available here]
Host Joe Scarborough seemed to share Halperin's sentiments and argued that the President needed to "grow a layer of skin" because: "If you're a Republican politician and a member of the press doesn't come up and like slap you in the face when you come to Washington, you're grateful. You're like a beaten dog. You'll take whatever crumbs they throw you. This guy gets adulation for years, years, and he hates the press. I just don't get it."
What's really staggering is that while some in the mainstream media are starting to realize how much the press have gone easy on Obama, they're announcing these revelations with a sense of detachment from the problem, as though it’s merely an observation, not an indictment.
The following exchange was aired during the June 8 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
MARK HALPERIN: You're a big fan of irony, I know.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: I am.
HALPERIN: I think it's ironic, the President
SCARBOROUGH: The most ironic being on cable news right now.
HALPERIN: I think it is ironic. The press is hounding the President, get mad, get mad! You know what finally seemed to have gotten him mad? The press.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, the press always gets him mad. All he needs to do is focus on the press, channel the press.
HALPERIN: Right, then the anger will bubble up.
NORAH O'DONNELL: But he also pointed out in that sound bite, too, he was down there a month ago. And remember, he went right after the White House Correspondents Dinner. He was down there the next day and he wanted to remind everybody, including the press, most of who didn't make that trip, the White House corps, that he was there then.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Yes, Yes!
SCARBOROUGH: You know what never really understood about this President or any Democratic President, like Bill Clinton, like 95 percent of the press votes for you. And They really do. Even Barack Obama joked about it. "Most of you followed me, all of you voted for-" He's right, they did! How could he hate the press? If you're a Republican politician and a member of the press doesn't come up and like slap you in face when you come to Washington, you're grateful. You're like a beaten dog. You'll take whatever crumbs they throw you. This guy gets adulation for years, years, and he hates the press. I just don't get it.
HALPERIN: Now, remember, David Axelrod warned him when he was thinking about running for President. Do you have skin thick enough to do this? And look, no one in the modern era has ever gotten into the Oval office with the press as glowing as Barack Obama did. For Him, this is a new experience.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, wait there was a close second. Oh, wait a second, I'm wrong - there wasn't a close second. It was unbelievable. So my only - yeah. Grow a layer of skin. Throw away your thin skin. Don't be so thin skinned here. Come on, seriously. You're right.
BRZEZINSKI: All he did was make the point.
SCARBOROUGH: Wah, wah, wah
BRZEZINSKI: Stop. No, he made a good point.
HALPERIN: I think as much as he's annoyed with the press, I think yesterday he started to show optimism about bringing the Gulf back. I think that's vital. He's got to be uplifting with all this and say we can get this done.
SCARBOROUGH: Again, I think it was a good idea.
BRZEZINSKI: We'll dig into the story. What is happening down in the gulf.
SCARBOROUGH: I am all for swearing and saying inappropriate things.