I’ve been hearing that journalists were “in the tank” “drinking the Kool-Aid” for Barack Obama. My loose observation is that a lot of journalists I know voted for him and I suspect lots of others did, but I wouldn’t presume to question anyone’s specific objectivity, and my memory from the campaign is that Obama took it on the chin as much as the next candidate. They weren’t well-aimed blows, necessarily, but there were plenty.

In short: I don’t know. But compared to Gary Rivlin‘s account of the Tribune newsroom after Harold Washington defeated Jane Byrne and Richard M. Daley in the 1983 Democratic mayoral primary, I might prefer Kool-Aid:

“Leanita McClain walked into the Tribune the morning after Washington’s primary victory expecting a noisy newsroom alive with talk. She looked forward to teasing the colleagues with whom she had been jousting for weeks–colleagues who couldn’t believe Washington might actually win. If nothing else, McClain, the first black to sit on the paper’s editorial board, expected congratulations. The one thing she didn’t figure on was the silence that would begin the seven most agonizing weeks of her life.

“For weeks no one could talk about anything else. The cliché about Chicago was true: its citizens follow local politics with the same fervor they do the Cubs and Bears. Despite the great upset the city had witnessed the night before, the newsroom that morning was quiet and sullen, as if someone had just died. ‘Like attending a wake,’ said Tribune reporter Monroe Anderson. No white, McClain said, could look her in the eye. ‘There was that forced quality, an awkwardness, an end to spontaneity, even fear,” she said. She overheard cracks about declining property values and white flight, jokes she found ‘unforgivably insensitive.’


“The primary had been difficult for McClain. She laughed bitterly over the Tribune‘s Daley endorsement–an endorsement for which McClain, as one of seven sitting on the Tribune‘s editorial board, was in part responsible, though she had pushed for Washington. ‘When death finally took the mayor’s office away from one Richard Daley in 1976 after twenty-one years,” the Tribune editorial began, ‘it was impossible to imagine a set of circumstances under which this newspaper would recommend that the people give it back to a second Richard Daley.'” ‘Same old Trib,’ she would say.”

Fire on the Prairie, p. 183-185 (1993 paperback edition)