Audio: Press caught on open mic coordinating Egypt/Libya questions for Romney?

I don’t think it’s the collusion that’s troubling so much as their priorities in what they were colluding on. Hard to make firm judgments on a 100-second piece of audio that cuts in and out and is sporadically unintelligible, but part of it is clear enough. From the Right Scoop’s transcript:

CBS REPORTER: Yeah that’s the question. I would just say do you regret your question.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Your question? Your statement?

CBS REPORTER: I mean your statement. Not even the tone, because then he can go off on…

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And then if he does, if we can just follow up and say ‘but this morning your answer is continuing to sound…’ – *becomes unintelligble*

CBS REPORTER: You can’t say that..


CBS REPORTER: I’m just trying to make sure that we’re just talking about, no matter who he calls on we’re covered on the one question.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you stand by your statement or regret your statement?

Someone sent Jake Tapper the link to the audio and asked him if this is business as usual. His reply:

But then he added:

In other words, knowing that they’ll have a select few opportunities to press Romney this morning, the press might have huddled to make sure that different angles of the story would be covered in the Q&A — one person asks him how he’d alter current U.S. policy on Egypt and Libya, one person asks him how to balance free-speech principles with concerns about provocations, etc etc. Instead he got five sub-moronic questions about the tone and timing of his statement last night, which was issued before anyone even knew that Chris Stevens had been killed in Libya. This latest iteration of the media’s “WHAT ABOUT YOUR GAFFES?” idiocy towards Romney is transparently a bit of concern-trolling designed to change the subject from Obama dropping the ball on security for the consulate in Libya — and that’s precisely what they seem to be coordinating on in the audio clip. They’re huddling to make sure that someone asks him the concern-troll question about the optics of his statement, because evidently that’s the one topic America needed him to address this morning, you see. It’s dishonest on its own terms, in fact: Even if, for whatever bizarre reason, your chief concern this morning was whether someone “jumped the gun” in saying something impolitic, the story should have been why the Cairo embassy’s craven statement yesterday jumped the gun on the White House’s reaction. But this is what you get when most of your national media is openly playing for one team.

Click the image below to listen. Exit quotation via conventional-wisdom-setter Mark Halperin, helpfully nudging the media on what its news narrative should be this morning: “[Romney’s] doubling down on criticism of the President for the statement coming out of Cairo is likely to be seen as one of the most craven and ill-advised tactical moves in this entire campaign.”