Why is the Washington Times, a paper with secure right wing, Republican credentials, more positive on Obama today than either the WashPost or the NYTimes?  Both the Post and the NYTimes have been  harping on problems with the health care bill and neglecting Obama’s  accomplishments, while today’s Washington Times has a story noted what a successful week Obama had.

The part of the answer may be that last year the Washington Times installed John Solomon, a former long-time AP and short time Washington Post reporter with no decreeable ideological bent, as editor. Solomon is a dogged reporter–and now editor–and has steered the news sections of the paper toward a more professional and balanced course. The slant of the editorial page of the paper remains well to the right, but news is now news.

But the second reason for this curious juxtaposition of the Post dissing Obama while the Washington Times writes an upbeat story is that we journalists like to run counter-intuitive stories.  Journalist are a great deal like sheep, we run in a herd, following the lead of conventional wisdom and story fashion.  But like sheep, we can quickly change direction.  That happened in Washington in June this year when after six months of mostly favorable Obama stories, the WashPost and the NYTimes reversed course and started running negative stories. This was sparked by the problems with the health care bill, but stoked by a slight drop in Obama’s poll numbers, his perceived gaff of calling the Cambridge (MA) police stupid, and the sense that he was spending money with reckless abandon.

So the negative stories began to appear and it didn’t matter that Obama got the F22s cut from the defense budget. It did matter that he won a gun control battle in the House. It didn’t matter–as the Washington Times noted –  that he got his

Silly face, silly gesture, silly season

Silly face, silly gesture

Supreme Court nominee confirmed and sworn in. And it didn’t matter that the stock market had a great month and the unemployment bleeding has begun to subside. The NYTimes and WashPost have turned Obama-huffy. Even the picture editors got the memo: snaps of smiling Obama were replaced with pictures of Obamam with his silly face on.  My God, today  Frank Rich, of all people,  was snipping at Obama, if ever so subtly.

But it’s August in Washington. Traffic is noticeably light. Members of Congress are back home in their districts, wishing–I would guess–that they were back in Washington were those nice Capitol Police keep the nut cases and hecklers at bay.  Even Obama will be on vacation soon. The battles will be put on hold until September  when, in all likelihood, the press will change course once again.