My new post at CJR makes the case that the media are devoting too much attention to the debates in the Republican primary race. The super PAC-funded assault on Mitt Romney in South Carolina is far more likely to change the dynamics of the race:
[I]f the debates are unlikely to sway voters, is there a format where attacks can shape the primary campaign? Yes—television advertisements, which are seen by a wider and more diverse group of people than debates.
Viewed through this prism, the most significant campaign news of the last few days was not the debates over the weekend, or even today’s New Hampshire primary, which Romney should easily win. Rather, it was the report that a super PAC backing Newt Gingrich will air millions of dollars in negative ads against Romney in South Carolina...
Read the whole thing for more.