Small-time politicians, be nice to those small-time young reporters. So, what if their newspapers are twelve pages long, and part of some community chain? That won’t matter when they’re dissecting your character eight years later.If there’s a moral to this story in Houston alternative weekly, the Houston Press, it might be that. Much has been said about how Obama is getting the soft treatment from the media. But, as the fate of the Democratic nomination again hangs in a balance (for the seventh time? Or is it the tenth?), one journalist has written a detailed account of his experiences with Barack Obama back in Illinois, and it ain’t so pretty. Here’s a snippet:

“What’s interesting, and almost never discussed, is that [Obama] built his entire legislative record in Illinois in a single year.

Republicans controlled the Illinois General Assembly for six years of Obama’s seven-year tenure. Each session, Obama backed legislation that went nowhere; bill after bill died in committee. During those six years, Obama, too, would have had difficulty naming any legislative —achievements.”

I interned at the Press for a year during college, so occasionally I check back on the website. The article, written by reporter Todd Spivak (who won a slightly ridiculous number of awards last year), has thus far received 211 comments, which may be more comments than were collectively posted over the entire time I was there. The best parts of the piece are when Spivak dishes about his exchanges with Obama.

Take this one, which occurred the morning after Spivak’s profile of Obama was published online:

“I arrived early at my new offices. I hadn’t taken my coat off when the phone rang. It was Obama.

The article began, “It can be painful to hear Ivy League-bred Barack Obama talk jive.”

Obama told me he doesn’t speak jive, that he doesn’t say the words “homeboy” or “peeps.”

It seemed so silly; I thought for sure he was joking. He wasn’t.

He said the black legislators I cited in the story were off-base, and that they couldn’t have gotten the bills passed without him.

I started to speak, and he shouted me down.

He said he liked the other story I wrote.

I asked if there was anything factually inaccurate about the latest story.

He repeated that his former colleagues couldn’t have passed the bills without him.

Photo by Jurvetson