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Why Is The Press Calling Mitt Romney The Likely GOP Nominee?

March 29, 2012

A great article from Columbia Journalism Review.  A portion is posted below—but if you have time read the whole article as it is good.

So why are campaign reporters suddenly so eager to anoint Romney and devote more than four months to (be still my beating heart) non-stop vice-presidential speculation? Campaigning in Wisconsin Saturday, Santorum offered his own theory to supporters as he referred to his traveling press corps: “They’re all trying to go home, get off the road and stop writing about this thing. They’re all tired.”

Fatigue is an under-appreciated factor in presidential politics: A mandatory eight hours sleep per night would produce far fewer “gaffes” by candidates and their spokesmen. But I doubt that this is a major factor affecting the press corps assigned to chronicle Santorum. After three decades covering presidential races, I can testify that campaign reporters yearn to stay out on the trail as long as there is a hint of drama to the story. The problem is when the campaign becomes like the movie Groundhog Day, when each day seems like the last and disconsolate reporters sense that no one is reading (or watching) their stories. With no major primaries for a month (aside from Wisconsin and Maryland on April 3) and no movement in the GOP race, journalists these days are understandably as interested in clean clothes as clean copy.

I think a larger problem is that no one on a press bus wants to be suckered by a candidate’s ludicrous victory strategy that involves mass hypnosis and his major rival defecting to North Korea. So the press pack’s mantra has always been (with apologies to Richard Nixon), “I am not a schnook.”

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