- - Sunday, August 26, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Take the dog days of August, add a presidential election. What do you get? Time for the mainstream media to roll over like Fido for the Democratic candidate.

Of course, the MSM has spent the past four years in the downward-facing dog position, so there isn’t much more supinity it can achieve, even for The Chosen One. Still, America’s reporters are prepared to do what must be done so they can get back to their skewered shrimp in the faux gardens of upper Manhattan — with Barack Obama back in the White House.

All of this comes as a tremendous shock to Jacob Paul “Jake” Tapper. The Dartmouth grad who once worked for Handgun Control Inc. and the ultra-liberal Salon magazine (is his wife a former regional field manager for Planned Parenthood Federation? Yes, yes she is) did not really know there was this “liberal bias” when authoring the mega-non-best-seller “Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency” (surprisingly, it was not about how Al Gore tried to steal the presidency).

No, the guy who once dated Monica Lewinsky is just beside himself over the state of D.C. media. They (those other “journalists”) are sometimes, gasp, biased. “Sometimes I saw with story selection, magazine covers, photos picked, [the] campaign narrative, that it wasn’t always the fairest coverage,” The Tap said, shocked.

Wow. He’s good. In less than four years, he ferreted out a liberal media covering presidential campaigns.

Yet a day later, there he was with George Stephanopoulos, who opened their segment with this declaration: “As we head into next week’s Republican convention, Mitt Romney is hoping to shake off those controversial comments from congressman Akin about abortion and rape.” (Yes, the GOP presidential candidate is apparently weighed down by what one Missouri idiot, Rep. W. Todd Akin, says about “legitimate” rape.)

“Good morning, Georgie,” the sappy Tapper said, before blunting stating what the Democrats’ plan — and thus, the media’s plan — is for poor ol’ Mr. Akin: “Turn him into Mitt Romney’s second running mate.”

But it isn’t just Jake who figured out the state of U.S. media. Mark Halperin, the senior political analyst for Time magazine and a frequent MSNBC bloviator, bloviated last week about reporters hounding Mr. Romney to release more tax returns.

“I think the press still likes this story a lot — the media is very susceptible to doing what the Obama campaign wants, which is to focus on this,” he said.

Really? Shocking.

But no one seemed amazed that the Obama White House sets ground rules for what reporters can ask (most often with regional reporters, more prone to follow such absurd guidelines). In interviews with three regional TV stations last week, the White House directed reporters to ask about “sequestration,” the automatic spending cuts that go into effect if Congress does not reach a deal.

“The president invited me to talk about sequestration,” one reporter said. “What do you want individual San Diegans to know?” Said another: “Mr. President, I know we were asked to talk about sequestration today I know that’s why you invited us here.”

Hilariously, Jay Leno played a mock briefing on “The Tonight Show” with a reporter reading a question off cue cards held by the president. The reporter: Jake Tapper.

The D.C. press corps went even further to defend Mr. Obama last week. When the president joined three supporters to spell out “Ohio” with their bodies, he was the “H” — only he was in the wrong place, thus making the pantomime spell “OIHO.”

Obama photo-shopped into spelling error during Ohio State U stop,” the Washington Post’s David Nakamura tweeted. (Pit bull Jake Tapper joined in: “That foto is BS, it was photoshopped,” he tweeted, according to twitchy.com.)

The Washington Post was forced to correct its false report. “Correction: There are different photographs of Obama’s attempt to spell Ohio from a similar angle. We incorrectly stated the first one appeared photoshopped.” Hmm. maybe a “journalist” should have checked that before writing it was fake. Jake? He just deleted the tweet: Never happened.

Despite the D.C. press corps love, the president would much rather sit down with reporters from ESPN, People magazine and “Entertainment Tonight,” which he has done recently. Top campaign aide and blunderbuss Stephanie Cutter explained: “”I think that’s where a lot of Americans get their news.”

But the president did make an appearance last week in front of his adoring fans in the White House briefing room. The AP’s reporter got right to the most pressing issue: The econ wait, Todd Akin?

“I wondered if you think those views represent the views of the Republican Party in general. They’ve been denounced by your own rival and other Republicans. Are they an outlier or are they representative?” Mr. Obama hit the ball right off the Little League tee.

The AP’s headline: “Romney turns to Ohio amidst distractions.” Wonder if Jake Tapper and Mark Halperin were shocked.

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at jcurl@washingtontimes.com.