Of course the way they've been behaving the last three years, taking this long to see it is no big hairy surprise...
BOTTOM-LINE PRESSURES NOW HURTING COVERAGE, SAY JOURNALISTS
Press Going Too Easy on Bush
Journalists are unhappy with the way things are going in their profession these days. Many give poor grades to the coverage offered by the types of media that serve most Americans: daily newspapers, local TV, network TV news and cable news outlets. In fact, despite recent scandals at the New York Times and USA Today, only national newspapers and the websites of national news organizations receive good performance grades from the journalistic ranks.
Roughly half of journalists at national media outlets (51%), and about as many from local media (46%), believe that journalism is going in the wrong direction, as significant majorities of journalists have come to believe that increased bottom line pressure is "seriously hurting" the quality of news coverage. This is the view of 66% of national news people and 57% of the local journalists questioned in this survey. [..]
The strong sentiment in favor of a more critical view of White House coverage is just one way the climate of opinion among journalists has changed since the 1990s. More generally, there has been a steep decline in the percentage of national and local news people who think the traditional criticism of the press as too cynical still holds up. If anything, more national news people today fault the press for being too timid, not too cynical.
Not only do many national news people believe the press has gone too soft in its coverage of President Bush, they express considerably less confidence in the political judgment of the American public than they did five years ago. Since 1999, the percentage saying they have a great deal of confidence in the public's election choices has fallen from 52% to 31% in the national sample of journalists.