ROMNEY CAMPAIGN GIVES CORRECT SET OF TALKING POINTS TO NEW YORK TIMES
On Saturday, I told you that right-wingers had given the wrong set of talking points to The New York Times. Here's what appeared in Times that day regarding Mitt Romney's level of machismo, as written up by Timeswoman Ashley Parker:
Critics From Base See Romney Pulling Punches on 'Nice Guy' Obama
To hear Mitt Romney tell it, President Obama has slowed the economic recovery, apologized for America abroad, taken his cues from the social democrats of Europe and wasted hundreds of millions in stimulus dollars on companies like Solyndra.
But there is one more thing Mr. Romney regularly reminds voters about the president: "He's a nice guy."
... Even as Mr. Romney steps up his attacks on the Obama administration, his measured portrayal of the president himself -- his He's-a-Nice-Guy-But approach -- has stirred some concerns among fellow Republicans who are eager, after nearly four years of an Obama administration, to see the president demonized....
Now, here's what Ashley Parker gives us today, in a Times story coauthored with Michael Shear:
With Boos and Solyndra, Romney Plays Offense
...Drowning out [Obama campaign strategist David] Axelrod's news conference with loud boos -- a tactic that could be seen as undignified -- seemed to signal the kind of battle Mr. Romney's team intends to wage over the next five months: one that takes no skirmish lightly and provides no easy opportunities for Mr. Obama to make his case.
... In addition to quickly mobilizing to disrupt Mr. Axelrod's news conference, the campaign also managed to keep a surprise visit by Mr. Romney to the headquarters of Solyndra -- the failed solar-panel company that received millions of taxpayer dollars -- secret until minutes before the event in Fremont, Calif....
So, two days after telling us Romney's too nice, Parker suddenly declares he's tough and pugnacious -- even though the two examples cited happened before the "Romney's too nice" article appeared (note that they'd been cited in a "tough guy Mitt" article at BuzzFeed on Friday). The spin points were wrong in the previous article, as far as the Romney campaign is concerned, so the correct ones have been made doubly clear to Parker -- and now she's dutifully written them up.
Look, I don't hate the mainstream press, and I think The New York Times in particular does a lot of good work. But mainstream coverage of campaigns is hopeless: the reporters seem incapable of maintaining critical distance, so they inevitably regurgitate spin -- and that just gives the spin a patina of objectivity.
It might be better for mainstream outlets just to pull their reporters off the damn buses altogether, and maybe just run the campaigns' press releases verbatim, as honestly labeled advertisements. We get nothing from this kind of coverage except stenography disguised as journalism.