“I love the juxtaposition of the media being defended by the people they don’t typically like, which is conservatives,” said Seton Motley, president of Less Government, an organization devoted to diminishing the role of the federal government.

Michael Smerconish, an independent who hosts a talk radio program on Sirius XM and contributes to MSNBC, said conservatives’ outrage over the Obama administration’s leak investigations has everything to do with politics.

“Given a choice of who gets thrown under the bus — Obama or the liberal media — Obama is first on the list,” Mr. Smerconish said. He added, “The liberal media would be a close second.”

Mr. Smerconish and other critics point out that many of the same right-leaning hosts condemning the Obama administration sided with, for example, the Bush administration’s surveillance program under the Patriot Act, the expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the government’s actions in the case related to former C.I.A. agent Valerie Plame…

“It’s a sea change, to say the least, in how it’s being covered,” said Eric Boehlert, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, a nonprofit, liberal research organization that devotes much of its efforts to criticizing Fox News. “I can’t think of a single example of Fox News ever coming to the aid of a reporter who was at the center of a national security leak,” Mr. Boehlert added.