I wondered what tack Mitt Romney would take in following the president in an appearance before the newspaper editors association. But he really took my breath away:
In just the few years since my last campaign, the changes in your industry are striking. Then, I looked to Drudge or FOX or CNN online to see what stories were developing. Hours after a speech, it was being dissected on the Internet. Now, it’s Twitter, and instantaneous reaction. In 2008, the coverage was about what I said in my speech. These days, it’s about what brand of jeans I am wearing and what I ate for lunch.
Most people in my position are convinced that you are biased against us. We identify with LBJ’s famous quip that if he were to walk on water, your headline would read: “President Can’t Swim.”
Some people thus welcome the tumult in your industry, heralding the new voices and the unfiltered or supposedly unbiased sources. Frankly, in some of the new media, I find myself missing the presence of editors to exercise quality control. I miss the days of two or more sources for a story – when at least one source was actually named.
After reporting this remarkably hypocritical statement, Politico‘s Alexander Burns blandly notes:
[I]f you look over the arc of the primary season, it’s hard to see him as one of the major victims of anonymous sourcing, overhyping of trivia, et cetera — especially when you consider that his campaign is as eager as anyone to engage in the sins of Twitter, not-for-attribution sourcing and shielding the candidate from direct questions.
Now I suppose when you have already developed a reputation for towering mendacity on subjects large and small, a medium-sized lie about your views on media accuracy is as easy as changing those jeans and a lot easier than changing your entire political persona on a regular basis. But you might think at some point the man would fear being struck down by a thunderbolt right on the spot if he lectures the media–old or new–about “sourcing” and “quality control.” Where’s the “presence of editors” when Mitt Romney opens his mouth each day? The mind reels.