Journalists Lament a Manipulative, Joyless, Too Fast Campaign 2012

By Chris Ariens 

Politico’s Dylan Byers catches up with some print and TV journos covering the campaigns. He finds they are nonplussed about the whole thing.

“Until the candidates restore joy, it’s impossible for us to be joyful,” NBC News senior White House correspondent Chuck Todd tells Byers. “The campaigns are trying so hard to manipulate us, to work the refs, to withhold access. If these candidates were comfortable, the campaign might be joyful to cover.”

Because of the pace established by Twitter and the Internet, the latest “gotcha” moment snowballs faster than ever. For a reporter pressed to be ahead of the cycle, assuming conscientious-objector status would be suicide. Once one credible journalist takes the bait, everyone takes the bait.

“There’s no off-Broadway anymore,” CNN’s Gloria Borger says. “There is a sense among the candidates — and their staffs — that nothing is off the record. And while I think we can idealize the way it used to be in the good old days, this new, high-speed news cycle has had one result none of us likes: a constant barrage of scripted sound bites and talking points, just to make sure everyone is on message, all the time.”

What do you think? As a viewer, do you think the 2012 campaigns are too scripted and on-message or should the journalists try harder?