And the press covered this like Lauten had stuffed the Obama girls in the trunk of a car and driven into Mexico. As Alana Goodman documented at the Washington Free Beacon, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today Show both gave precious time to the Lauten resignation, and two news trucks parked outside her parents’ home. The three main evening news broadcasts, on which time is even more precious, all covered Lauten. The fate of a GOP staffer who blurted about the president’s daughters was judged to be important enough to take up four and a half of the 66 minutes the networks were using to describe everything that happened on Earth that day…

Media malpractice like this has consequences. Lauten might have lost her job anyway; staffers have been fired for less in the Age of Twitter. Conservatives, like most people in politics, remember their martyrs. The Lauten story can and will be cited when Republicans want to explain why they don’t trust the press to treat them fairly. That’s what Reince Priebus’s RNC is doing right now—has been doing, actually—in putting together rules that will limit the number of presidential primary debates and devolve as much power as possible from media moderators. I’ve been in ballrooms where Priebus pledges to prevent Chris Matthews from ever hosting a debate again, and the Republicans cheer.