During the campaign, the polite and respectable liberal media steered clear of all the "Obama is a secret Muslim!1!!" stuff. Now he's given his first TV interview as president to Al Arabiya. Who loses?

This is all pretty funny, if you're a political media nerd! Because while the "OBAMA HALF-BREED MUSLIN" issue was actually taken very seriously by the right wing, discussion of it was limited to blogs, forwarded emails, message boards, and Florida yard signs. Even Fox News would only touch it in a relatively restrained manner, for Fox News.

Because it was racist, and also false. But mostly because of the racist thing. The media simply will not be called racist! The accompanying effect was that there was never a real deep discussion of what Obama's background would mean for Arab-American relations—at least not in a way that treated it as a controversial topic appropriate for the upper crust punditry.

And now, burn, media, you all got stiffed on the first interview, in favor of Al Arabiya! Which is, by the way, considered much more pro-American than Al Jazeera, but still. For all the complaining from liberals about Obama's centrism, and from conservatives about his, you know, Democrat-ness, this was a crafty freaking move. No to Fox News. Also no to MSNBC. Yes to Al Arabiya, which had a reporter killed on camera by a US helicopter in 2004.

The perfectly funny end to this would be if now the New York Times and Keith Olbermann start getting suspicious of Obama. Not because he has Indonesian ancestry, per se, but because he fucked with their access. This is in fact the most sly thing Obama has done since he had has secret contacts in the Indonesian consulate alter his birth certificate.

[Read the interview, which is quite predictable, really. Pic via Wonkette]