How’s this for a love letter? “Dear Newt,” wrote Washington Post political columnist Dana Milbank in his column a few weeks ago. “You’re the only thing saving us [journalists, that is] from a long spring of despair, the only person who can, by extending the presidential race, drive up our audience and bring us the revenues we so desperately need.” Milbank spends the column poking as much fun at journalists as he does at Newt Gingrich’s candidacy itself. In the process, Milbank asks about the impact of making big stores out of little ones, or out of no story at all. Is politics really a horse race for reporters, and does the reporting influence the outcome? If Gov. Mitt Romney is really going to win the Republican nomination, as many in the news media believe he will, why bother to stir up a sense of drama and conflict in his relationship with his contenders?
Are the challenges from Gingrich, Paul, and Santorum big enough stories to justify the reportage?
Dana Milbank, political reporter, The Washington Post
Brooke Gladstone, co-host and editor, On the Media from WNYC and NPR
Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project of Excellence in Journalism, a part of the Pew Research Center