Another manufactured controversy ends in a whimper

ANOTHER MANUFACTURED CONTROVERSY ENDS IN A WHIMPER…. And just like that, the air comes out of another balloon.

The White House statement this morning was accurate in claiming that Colorado Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff applied for a job in advance of hearing back from the White House about employment possibilities, a Romanoff spokesman just confirmed to me.

“The White House statement is accurate,” Romanoff spokesman Roy Teischer told me by phone just now.

So, what do we have here? Romanoff applied for a job with the administration, and followed up with phone calls to administration officials about possible opportunities. He gave up about a year ago, and turned his attention to the Senate race. When the White House inquired with Romanoff about whether he was still interested about a possible position, he declined.

That’s the White House’s version of events; that’s Romanoff’s version of events. There. Is. No. Scandal. As far as political reporting goes, it has all the fascination of watching paint dry.

What’s maddening isn’t the Republican desire to manufacture a controversy where none exists — that’s expected — but the excessive amounts of irresponsible journalism. A.L. noted this morning that there’s “nothing more aggravating than watching the press latch on to fake scandal even when it’s clear they know it’s fake.”

It’s painfully common. Chris Cillizza reported earlier, “Neither incident — on their face — amounts to all that much as this sort of horse-trading is commonplace in the rough and tumble of electoral politics.” Exactly. But if the meaningless incidents don’t amount to much, why is Cillizza, among others, treating this as a major story? Why is today’s lead report on Politico a piece that looks as if it were written by Darrel Issa’s press secretary?

Hell, even Issa himself can only muster the enthusiasm to characterize the matter as “politics as usual.” But if it’s “politics as usual,” why should anyone care?

I’ve seen other media reports running quotes from Republicans about primary intervention being sleazy, “Chicago-style” tactics. But remember, Romanoff applied for a job, and the White House asked if he was still interested. He said no, and the WH dropped it. If anyone seriously thinks this qualifies as sleazy, “Chicago-style” tactics, they need to read up on the ol’ Daley machine.

Reporters know there’s nothing here, but keep pushing this nonsense anyway. There’s a lot of ways to describe this, but “journalism” isn’t one of the words that comes to mind.