So I pick up the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times, and what do I see but a 16-page special section with a heroic, back-lit photograph of the president-elect under the banner headline:
It is an incredible thing to behold. The first words of defenestrated Washington bureau chief Doyle McManus' portentiously laid-out cover text were "WE ARE A DIFFERENT COUNTRY NOW." Page two featured a steely Norman Rockwell-style half-page illustration of the man; page four was topped by the following quote:
'He might be the best president we ever had. But even if he's the biggest jerk in the world, he's done an awesome thing for this country already.'— Anna Kormos, who struggled with doubts before voting for Obama
The page 10 Michelle Obama story was adorned with the Onion-caliber headline "SPEAKING HER MIND, HEART," and on page 14, in case you didn't see it the first time around, my ex-colleagues over on the editorial board reprinted their "Obama for president" endorsement.
What the hell is going on here? In part, you have a major metropolitan newspaper taking the rare (for it) step of reacting to audience demand. The LAT was stunned and delighted to discover in the first several days after the election huge lines of readers actually demanding product, in the form of a reprint from the first post-election paper. Coupled with Obama's recent audience-spiking appearances on 60 Minutes and The Daily Show, we are beginning to see a strange new trend: The liberal media temporarily reversing its long decline by hyping the liberal president.
The second interpretation is somewhat less generous. Namely, the media is in full-on, unembarrassed (OK, maybe slightly embarrassed) gush mode. Connoisseurs of media bias will certainly have their hands full for at least the next six months.