Republicans know exactly how to handle the mainstream media, and they know how to play against it. Newt Gingrich was never stronger than when he joined debate crowds in solidarity against whatever “preposterous” question that day’s rent-an-anchor was asking him. They’re often more compelling when their interviews are pushing them from the right. Who but Bill O’Reilly would tell John McCain that pro-immigration reform forces on the left “want to break down the white Christian male power structure of which you are a part?” Who but Glenn Beck would get Rand Paul to reveal his synapse-by-synapse approach to leveraging Senate votes for what he wanted?
That’s not to say the median conservative media interview is really tough, in the traditional sense. Republicans don’t give interviews to Sean Hannity or their local radio host because they’ll get grilled. They go because they get to say what they believe in a setting cozier and more lulling than an opium den. But there are advantages to that, and there are questions and ways of asking questions that the “MSM” wouldn’t think to use.