US president Barack Obama has hit out at the media's treatment of Democrat Hillary Clinton during the presidential election.

At a year-end White House press conference, Obama suggested the coverage of Clinton had been "troubling', and highlighted the election hack, which US intelligence agencies said came from Russia, as an issue that could have been reported differently.

I've said before that I couldn't be prouder of Secretary Clinton, her outstanding service," The Hill reported Obama as saying. "I think she has worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people, and I don't think she was treated fairly during the election. I think the coverage of her and the issues was troubling."

Over the past week, it has emerged US intelligence agencies believe Russian president Vladimir Putin was personally involved in attempting to disrupt the election, in what reportedly began as a vendetta against Clinton.

Two senior officials, who had direct access to the information, told NBC News intelligence reveals Putin personally organised how material hacked from Democrats was used and leaked

The officials said the intel came from diplomatic sources and spies working for allies of the US – a story that has been widely reported this week.

But Obama said the media reporting of the situation should have acknowledged earlier that the hacking was having a negative impact on Clinton.

"I'm finding it a little curious that suddenly everyone's acting surprised that this looked like it was disadvantaging Hillary Clinton because you guys wrote about it every day," Obama said. "Every single week. About every little juicy tidbit of political gossip, including John Podesta's risotto recipe."

"This was an obsession that dominated the new coverage," he said of the emails.