SELF-CENSORSHIP…. As Sarah Palin continues to struggle badly as a national candidate, she’s received a fair amount of criticism from media figures. But Howard Kurtz reports today that the coverage would be far worse if reporters weren’t deliberately cutting her some slack.

Sarah Palin has been struggling in her own debates — with network anchors. While the Alaska governor hardly drew rave reviews for her interview with Charlie Gibson, her sit-down with Katie Couric last week opened the floodgates of criticism, even from conservatives. […]

It may have been a turning point for Couric, who was persistent without being overbearing, in shedding early doubts about her ability to be a commanding presence in the CBS anchor chair. And the worst may be yet to come for Palin; sources say CBS has two more responses on tape that will likely prove embarrassing.

While some journalists say privately they are censoring their comments about Palin to avoid looking like they’re piling on, pundits on the right are jumping ship. [emphasis added]

Talk about burying the lede — Kurtz knows reporters who are willing to admit that they’re self-censoring their coverage, deliberately going easy on Palin? If I’m Kurtz, I might find that worth exploring in more detail.

Amanda noted that McCain campaign aides have “attacked the media for being sexist, lacking ‘deference,’ and trying to ‘smear’ Palin.” If Kurtz is right, and I suspect he is, the campaign should be sending thank-you notes to news rooms for going easy on Palin.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.