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Krauthammer on Press/Obama: 'The Hot Sex is Over, They're In the Cigarette Stage'

NPR's Nina Totenberg scolded the more adversarial approach some in the White House press corps took to President Obama during Tuesday's press conference, but on Inside Washington this weekend columnist Charles Krauthammer rejected the notion the media's honeymoon is "over," as he cracked:

The hot sex is over, they're in the cigarette stage right now. You get a question or two that's slightly obstreperous, but the adulatory coverage is still all wall-to-wall.


That's a comedic improvement over what he offered Tuesday night on FNC when he suggested "it looked as if the stupor that the press has been in for the last six months is lifting slightly," before he quipped: "I say that as a psychiatrist who has a lot of experience in watching these things."

An aggressive press posture toward more conservative Presidents never bothered Totenberg, but with Obama she complained: "I thought that the press reminded me of something my mother used to say to me. She said: 'Don't be fresh.'" As a result, she contended, "we end up looking quarrelsome, and he [Obama] ends up looking masterful." As if she's upset by Obama looking masterful. Of course, he only looked masterful to those still on the honeymoon with him.

From this weekend's edition of Inside Washington, a show produced by DC's ABC affiliate and aired on it and its all-news local cable channel, NewsChannel 8, but first aired Friday evening on the local PBS station, WETA-DT. In fact, since ad breaks make the commercial version shorter, this segment, which ended the program, will not run on NewsChannel8 or WJLA-TV, channel 7.1.

Fill-in host Mark Shields asked if a "more adversarial" White House press corps proves the "honeymoon is over?" Two of the answers:

Nina Totenberg:

I don't know if the honeymoon's over, but I thought that the press reminded me of something my mother used to say to me. She said: "Don't be fresh." And every time that we as the press with the President sort of try to flex our muscles and we think we've finally done our bit - I'm not saying we shouldn't do it, I'm just saying that when people watch it, we end up looking quarrelsome, and he ends up looking masterful, I thought. I didn't think he seemed testy. I thought he actually showed some humor.

Charles Krauthammer:

On the honeymoon, I tell you: The hot sex is over, they're in the cigarette stage right now. You get a question or two that's slightly obstreperous, but the adulatory coverage is still all wall-to-wall.

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center