Via Mediaite, I’m going to cut this guy a bit of a break, for two reasons. One: He’s not denying that the media’s on Obama’s side. He’s quibbling with the phrase “in the tank,” which he seems to define, roughly, as being unwilling to ask uncomfortable questions under any circumstances. By that definition, he’s right — why, just this morning the White House press corps got Jay Carney to skedaddle from the podium by pressing him a bit too hard about OFA influence peddling. It’s not that they categorically refuse to report stories that are “unhelpful” to the administration, it’s that they pull their punches with The One in ways they never, ever would with a Republican. The tone of their coverage about the DOJ’s “white paper” memo on targeting U.S. citizens is a classic example. So is Benghazi. In both cases they covered the story, but their coverage was more circumspect and incurious than it would be under President McCain or President Romney. Partly that’s because O’s on the same side of the Cause and partly it’s because they’re starstruck by him. When their professional interest in exposing abuses of power aligns with their political interest in promoting liberalism and its standard bearers, they’re far more formidable than when those interests are at cross purposes. That’s what it means to be in the tank.
Two: Stevens just came out with an op-ed running through the familiar post-election verse-chorus-verse about how the GOP’s problems can’t be attributed to any one factor but require a total yadda yadda yadda. When you’re making that argument, obviously you want to do what you can to downplay the effects of media bias on Republican chances. Otherwise, the energy to undertake needed reforms will be channeled into carping about the press and the GOP rehabilitation project will suffer. In Stevens’s case, the one factor that we supposedly shouldn’t attribute Romney’s defeat to is the technological gap between his campaign and Obama’s. That’s fine — even had Project ORCA gone swimmingly, there’s no reason to think it would have affected the election’s results — but what Stevens conveniently omits is that Romney wasn’t supposed to get beat on organizational nuts and bolts. That was his big selling point: He was a managerial genius who’d make up for his ideological heresies by running a ship as tight as the one he ran at Bain. Except he didn’t; he got crushed by the other guy’s consultants and data-crunchers, which undermines the whole argument for electing him technocrat-in-chief. That’s a big deal, even if it’s not an all-purpose explanation for the GOP’s problems.
Exit question via Charlie Spiering: Why, when the party’s busy trying to remake itself, won’t Romney and Stevens go away?