Ezra Klein asks: "Why oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?":
Ezra Klein: Why do John Harris and Jim Vandehei keep doing this?
Media madness. Reporters complain about the lack of spontaneity in politics. Then we punish spontaneity by ensuring that any impolitic comment gets played and replayed, often simplified and distorted in each replaying—usually accompanied with disapproving analysis about a candidate’s lack of discipline and inability to stay on message. The lack of press access to both candidates this fall is frustrating. But the truth is McCain would be foolish to indulge in the kind of free-flowing, free-associating conversations that won such notice in 2000. Obama’s natural instincts are to tightly control his image and words, which works nicely in this media environment.
An unscripted campaign would be more interesting and more useful to voters, but it would require two unlikely ingredients: Candidates self-confident enough to throw out the script, and a news media that would devote as much attention to ideas as to gaffes.
Every couple of months, they come out with a new op-ed that lambastes the media's role in cheapening our democracy and creating a substanceless, horserace-obsessed politics. Then, in the interim, they run a major political publication whose latest innovation is crowning a daily winner of the day's news cycle. Either they should become that "news media that would devote as much attention to ideas as to gaffes" or they should admit that it's impossible and quit their jobs in a very public protest. But to keep writing op-eds pointing out the harm their industry, and their publication, does to American politics is extremely weird...