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Progressive media claims they'll be 'tougher' on Obama now

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Cross-posted from The Guardian

Given the rationale they have embraced, is there any reason to believe this will happen, or that it will matter if it does?



Last week, the Huffington Post's media reporter, Michael Calderone, wrote a long article on the widespread perception that MSNBC isn't so much a progressive network as it is "simply pro-Obama." Citing a new Pew study that found that MSNBC was actually more negative toward Romney than even Fox News was against Obama "and offered mostly positive coverage about Obama" -- most remarkably, during the last week of the campaign, MSNBC did not air a single story critical of Obama: not one -- Calderone wrote: "post-election, the question is whether MSNBC continues cheering Obama on -- or takes him on."

On Sunday, Politico's media reporter, Dylan Byers, set out in search of an answer to that question, not regarding MSNBC specifically but "progressive media" generally. Here's the crux of what he found:

"For the better part of four years, progressive media has had President Barack Obama's back.

"Now that he's won re-election, it is faced with a choice: Should the left continue always to play the loyal attack dog against the GOP, blaming the opposition at all hours of the news cycle for intransigence? Or, should it redirect some of that energy on the president, holding him to his promises and encouraging him to be a more outspoken champion of liberal causes?

"Already, there are rumblings of change.

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"In the days and weeks following Obama's victory, progressive voices, primarily in print media, have made efforts to push the president on key parts of the unfinished liberal agenda -- including climate change, drone strikes, troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the closing of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, civil liberties and gun control. ...

"'Liberals in the media are going to be tougher on Obama and more respectful at the same time,' Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker's chief political commentator and a former speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, told POLITICO. 'He was the champion of our side, he vanquished the foe... [but] now liberals don't have to worry about hurting his chances for re-election, so they can be tougher in urging him to do what he should be doing.'"

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