Enraptured Among the Enraptured

Politico‘s Ben Smith has a story on Richard Wolffe, author of Renegade: The Making of a President, and formerly a Newsweek reporter. The story isn’t particularly flattering, and it includes this:

[F]ar from being the toast of Newsweek, which once built its franchise around reporters who were close to the powerful, Wolffe now has a frosty relationship with his former employer.

Perhaps the most striking thing to note is Wolffe’s former colleagues at Newsweek coming to the conclusion that Wolffe had become “enraptured” by Obama and lost his detachment — an extraordinarily damning assessment, given that Newsweek is itself utterly enraptured by Obama. It treats him, on a weekly basis, like a political Messiah.

We also learn from Smith’s story that after a campaign event at a restaurant in Reno, Wolffe and Obama shared a “heaping piece of frosted carrot cake” as the Secret Service ushered the rest of the press corps to a waiting bus. How sweet. Wolffe also regularly played basketball with Obama, “games that were off limits to everyone else.” How bonding. And “on the public stage, Wolffe is best known for his appearances on MSNBC. During the campaign, he would often play the chortling Ed McMahon role to Keith Olbermann, as the host lacerated McCain.” How true.

Smith’s description of Wolffe as a chortling Ed McMahon to Keith Olbermann’s (and Barack Obama’s) Johnny Carson is on target. Wolffe stood out, after all, in a sea of sycophantic and star-struck reporters who covered Obama; his comments on Olbermann’s show are so tendentious and predictable that they are beyond parody. Richard Wolffe stopped being a journalist several months ago — but he had stopped being a serious journalist long before that.