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Obama's biggest fans abandoning ship?

Barack Obama once enjoyed a Teflon reputation in the mainstream media, where his allies were quick to deflect criticism of his presidency and bad news never seemed to stick.

But as scandal upon scandal have washed over his administration in recent weeks – first a floundering response to attacks in Benghazi that led to the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, then reports the IRS targeted his political opponents, then news the Justice Department seized phone records of Associated Press reporters – even some of Obama’s most ardent supporters in the media are turning critical.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, for example – he of the infamous “thrill up my leg” comment during Obama’s 2008 campaign – offered unusually harsh words earlier this week, complaining the president “obviously likes giving speeches more than he does running the executive branch.”

Politico – certainly not a conservative-leaning news source – described Matthews’ remarks as “a rare, unforgiving grilling of the president as severe as anything that might appear on Fox News.”

On another occasion this week, Matthews blasted testimony from former IRS chief Steve Miller, who suggested the agency’s behavior was inappropriate but denied any political targeting.

“That Mr. Miller guy,” Matthews said, “It’s like he didn’t see what he knew people certainly right, left and center could see, that when you target particular groups, you’re targeting particular groups. I mean, if this were on the other foot, and this was a George W. administration, they were targeting groups that were calling themselves progressives, I would say it’s prima facie evidence of targeting. I don’t think it’s complicated.”

As WND reported, even CNN talk-show host Piers Morgan paused in his relentless crusade for stricter gun-control laws to comment, “I’ve had some of the pro-gun lobbyists on here, saying to me, ‘Well, the reason we need to be armed is because of tyranny from our own government,’ and I’ve always laughed at them. I said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous! Your government won’t turn itself on you.

“But, actually, this is vaguely tyrannical behavior by the American government,” Morgan concluded. “I think what the IRS did is bordering on tyrannical behavior. I think what the Department of Justice has done to the AP is bordering on tyrannical behavior.”

An Investor’s Business Daily editorial commented, “Many in the dominant press are indeed turning. Politico ran a chilling story headlined ‘The IRS Wants You to Share Everything’; NBC’s Andrea Mitchell accuses Obama of ‘the most outrageous excesses I’ve seen’ in her years in journalism, going back before Watergate; the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank accuses Obama of ‘a full frontal assault on the First Amendment.'”

“Let me tell you how bad it’s gotten,” NBC “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno quipped. “Fox News has changed its slogan from ‘Fair and Balanced’ to ‘See, I Told You So!'”

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow further noticed it’s not just the media, but also congressional allies jumping off the Obama bandwagon. When Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., announced plans to retire in 2014, he became the sixth Democrat to step down two years from now instead of running for re-election.

“Tell us if something is wrong there,” Maddow said rhetorically. “What is the secret about this place that has you fleeing like rats from a sinking ship?”

The trend, which may have begun when some Democrats started ducking for political cover from fallout over Obamacare, has only continued in the wake of Obama’s recent scandals.

Even Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bristled over the AP phone-records story, telling Salon he “can’t really defend the Department of Justice at all” and, “I just think this has been handled so wrong.”

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., agreed, telling MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, “I don’t think anyone truly believes that the president has given a sufficient answer for America, much less our press [about the AP scandal]. The president has to come forward and share why he did not alert the press that they were going to do this. He has to tell Americans, including me, what was this national security question? You just can’t raise the flag and expect us just to salute it every time without any reason, and the same thing applies to the IRS. We’ve got to give him an opportunity to root out any wrongdoing, whether it’s just negligence or it’s criminal.”

Other examples of criticism coming from typically left-leaning allies include the following:

Despite the media’s change in tone from easy forgiveness to legitimate criticism of Obama, the Media Research Council’s Brent Bozell warns the media are not really “up in arms” with the Obama administration, but are simply having a “lover’s quarrel,” particularly over the AP flap.

“The Bill Clinton syndrome is going to be upon us,” Bozell predicted on CNBC’s May 16 “The Kudlow Report” program, “where it’s time to move on, we’ve covered it [the media will say] and they’re going to turn the fire right on Republicans as being obstructionists. … The zeal of going after Watergate with Woodward and Bernstein, that hasn’t been there.”