Of course, manufactured controversies are nothing new in American politics. There was Nixon’s famous “Checkers” speech. Even four years ago, political observers were obsessing over Michelle Obama’s patriotism and John McCain’s seven homes. What is new, however, is how much faster and professionalized — due to Twitter and the drive to make something go viral — these manufactured controversies have become. Indeed, we’ve now seen three of them in the past 30 days: Etch A Sketch, hot mic, and Hilary Rosen. Now all three were related to a bigger issue or narrative (doubts about Romney’s true beliefs and ideology, conservative suspicions about Obama’s intentions, and a real gender gap in American politics). But, unfortunately, we talk about the manufactured controversy and not the real story here (that a general-election candidate always moves back to the center, that a president’s second term with no more elections on the horizon does give him more flexibility to do certain things, and that women do have real anxieties about the balance between working and raising a family). The fact is, these next few months before the conventions are probably going to be filled with these manufactured “shiny metal object” controversies because of what we noted — just how professionalized both political parties are at creating them. And some in the media are easily susceptible to helping these manufactured controversies go viral because they are seen as simply “more interesting” than the serious “eat your vegetables”-like issues that divide the two parties.