When not harassing reporters, Obama officials refused to cooperate with them, racking up the worse record for fulfilling FOIA of any previous administration. Obama even routinely banned news photographers from official events so he could keep an iron grip on his image. Michelle Obama banned the press from her taxpayer-paid China visit.
Also around this time, the Federal Communications Commission announced plans to investigate whether newsrooms were meeting their communities’ “critical information needs.”
On Obama’s watch, the U.S. ranking for press freedom dropped to 46th place.
Yet, despite the occasional grumbling by an editor or a reporter here or there, most of these attacks went unnoticed. Whenever Obama spoke to the press, he pretended to be their champions. And the press, in turn, acted like teenagers in love rather than professionals threatened by a paranoid control freak.
In fact, when reporters tried to complain about Obama’s treatment, the reporters themselves often got attacked.
The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik wrote in 2014 that “I have been comparing Obama to Nixon in his disdain for the First Amendment and a free press since 2009, and mainly all I got was attacked — often from long-time colleagues in the media who couldn’t believe the object of their political affection could have such contempt for them.”
So why has the press saved all its ire for Trump, who has — despite his words — been far friendlier to the press in his deeds than Obama? One can only speculate.