"To the media, controversies are only distractions if they benefit Republicans"

And let me say a word in defense of distractions. Elections are about what voters want them to be about. Rosen’s comments, for instance, may have been hyped by the Romney campaign, but the hype wouldn’t have mattered if the comments didn’t resonate with the public.

My complaint isn’t about distractions, it’s about the press’s tendency to treat controversies that help Republicans as “distractions” and ones that hurt Republicans as Very Serious Issues.

And the pattern continues. This week, the Romney campaign is rightly distancing itself from some idiotic comments by rocker Ted Nugent. On cue, Andrea Mitchell — who seems to cover Republicans like they’re from some foreign land, oddly fitting for NBC’s “chief foreign affairs correspondent” — is happily distracted by the story. When Bill Maher, HBO’s criminally unfunny and obtuse jester (and million-dollar Obama super-PAC donor) says something idiotic, it’s a meaningless distraction.

It’s nothing new, of course. (Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers were preemptively deemed “distractions” by the media.) But it is annoying.