Thursday, February 21, 2008

Is Obama's media affair ending?

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Barack Obama, the wunderkind of US politics, has long basked in adulatory press coverage for his historic White House bid -- but a media backlash appears to be building.

Hillary Clinton, Obama's bitter rival for the Democrats' presidential nomination, has long complained that the young Illinois senator is getting a free ride from journalists in thrall to his promise of change.

"Obama is the new story this year and reporters love novel plotlines," said Darrell West, a political scientist and media expert at Brown University in Rhode Island.

"But as it gets closer to the nomination, there is going to be more scrutiny of him. Reporters are going to examine his statements, his votes and his background," he told AFP.

Some Obama supporters fret already that his campaign has the trappings of a messianic cult, as thousands upon thousands pack auditoriums to bask in his uplifting oratory.

"Obamaphilia has gotten creepy," Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein wrote. "The best we Obamaphiles can do is to refrain from embarrassing ourselves."

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