My new column at CJR examines how media hostility to Mitt Romney is helping to fuel the gaffe frenzies that frequently dominate coverage of his campaign and proposes a better approach to covering the horse race. Here's how it begins:
The profane confrontation between one of Mitt Romney’s press aides and reporters at the end of the presumptive GOP nominee’s difficult overseas trip has brought new attention to the way the 2012 race is being covered in the press—in particular, the media’s embarrassing gaffe obsession and the incentives it provides for campaigns to place ever-greater limitations on access to their candidates in unscripted settings.
This dynamic has been especially pathological for Romney. Politico’s Jonathan Martin best captured how the presumptive GOP nominee’s relationship with the media has devolved into a self-perpetuating cycle of gaffes and access restrictions...
While the gaffe patrol isn’t the only reason that the presidential campaigns are placing such tight limitations on the press, any discussion of those issues should acknowledge the role that the media’s seeming hostility toward Romney is playing in the coverage and in the access restrictions that have been imposed by his campaign.