From CNN’s “Reliable Sources“:
KURTZ: I had the impression it was a camp reunion when I was out there in Iowa. And it is great, the retail campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire. It is fun to cover and it is real, but it’s — when the votes are counted and we decide who did well — for example, Hillary Clinton, let’s say she doesn’t win Iowa. Let’s say she gets edged out by 1,000 votes.
Is the press going to savage her as a loser?
MILBANK: The press will savage her no matter what, pretty much.
KURTZ: If she wins?
MILBANK: Well, obviously if she wins by any great margin — the press with Hillary Clinton, it’s a poisonous relationship. And I visited the various campaigns out there. It’s a mutual sort of disregard. And they really have their knives out for her, there’s no question about it out there. So…
KURTZ: And to what extent do you think that is affecting the coverage of Senator Clinton?
MILBANK: I think it unquestionably is. And I think Obama gets significantly better coverage than Hillary Clinton does, and given an equal performance he’ll come out better for it.
KURTZ: Is this because journalists like Obama better than Hillary or…
MILBANK: It’s more that they dislike Hillary Clinton. There is a long history there, her antagonism towards the press. It’s returned in spades. And it is a venomous relationship that I see out there.
Other notable quotables from Milbank:
MILBANK: Well, I look at it — the press, I call them the Greek chorus, which in turn is sort of from the cult of Dionysus. If you know from reading the Greek plays…
KURTZ: Is there going to be a pop quiz here?
MILBANK: Well, there will be at the end. But basically the chorus is always jumping in and singing and dancing and drawing attention to itself instead of the actual figures in the action. So that’s what I call — the Washington journalists are the chorus.
KURTZ: But you’re singling Kristol out as an Iraq war cheerleader and kind of suggesting that he doesn’t deserve his success. But there are a lot of other people who supported the Iraq war, even on the liberal side.
MILBANK: Absolutely. No, no, no, I picked many. I picked some from the conservative side, everywhere from Jeff Gannon, speaking of a particular kind of prostitute, but to Fred Barnes and Bill Kristol at “The Weekly Standard” in a much more respectable way. ….
KURTZ: Aren’t 99 percent of Washington journalists hard-working folks who aren’t whack jobs or cheerleaders for one side or the other?
MILBANK: I don’t — not sure it’s 99 percent, but there are a lot of hard-working…
KURTZ: More than a majority?
MILBANK: There are a lot of hard-working, honest journalists in this town, by I would exclude them from the “Homo Politicus” frame I’m using here.
KURTZ: They’re not members of the tribe…
MILBANK: No, they are not admitted to the tribe. If they are fair and balanced, they are not going qualify as a Potomac man.