Obama spokesman Bill Burton says the accusation of softer treatment is untrue but "the Clinton campaign whines about it so much, it becomes part of the chatter. No candidate in this race has undergone more investigations and examinations than Barack Obama has," he says, citing lengthy pieces in the Chicago Tribune and New York Times. "As Obama says, running against the Clintons is not exactly a cakewalk. Their research operation has ensured that if there's any information about Obama to be had, it's been distributed to the media."
Over at TPM, Greg Sargent doesn't take a side, but instead asks readers for their view.
Clive Crook, by contrast, states the obvious: "there's no question that Obama has been given an easy ride." But Crook suggests that this isn't a result of media bias per se -- or not just media bias -- but instead reflects deeper feelings within the populace as a whole:
But is this sentiment peculiar to the press, I wonder, or a feeling in the country at large? I suspect the latter. The United States may have doubts about Obama's policies (if it knows or cares) or lack of experience (compared with Hillary's such as it is), but it likes him. He is new, and the country is giving him the benefit of the doubt. When it comes to Hillary, there is no such instinct. She is asking for eight years in the White House--another eight years, as her claim of greater experience keeps reminding people--and people seem tired of her already.
I suspect that's a part of it. And you can add to that the fact that he seems like a fairly likable guy. And she isn't. Likable, that is. Well, she's not a guy either, but that's not my point. And the whole underdog-wins narrative is fun, too.
Pardon me for mentioning the obvious, but there's another thing going on as well. In our society today, the worst thing you can be accused of (other than child molestation) is racism. And this means that members of the chattering classes generally avoid saying things that may get them accused -- falsely or not -- of being a racist. In Obama's case, this translates into a certain reticence about critcism or investigation. It means pretending that being a "community organizer" is actually a real job, and writing fawning articles like this. It means paying very little attention to the fact that he is a member of what is effectively a black-supremacist church. But the thing is, Obama is black (or half black, and that means he is "black" by cultural argeeement), and he's not obviously insane, like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
Obama is the affirmative action candidate.
And the worst part is, the Democrats can't complain, given their institutional commitment to pervasive racial preferences. This is what they asked for, isn't it?
UPDATE: Weird editing glitch fixed.