The head of a "news" organization was phoning up a presidential candidate in order to clear the air; to assure the Republican he'd get fair coverage. Welcome to the house of mirrors created by Ailes, and welcome to the Republican Party's Lost Summer of Trump, sponsored, of course, by Rupert Murdoch's cable channel.
Is Trump's run really that surprising? It shouldn't be if you've been paying attention to the radical, obstructionist turn both Republican politics and the right-wing media have taken over the last six-plus years. Yet during most of that span, the D.C. media stoically pretended the GOP hadn't taken an ugly, radical turn.
Of all the announced Republican candidates -- and those still queuing up this summer -- Christie, without question, enjoyed the most unique and encouraging relationship with the Beltway press corps. For years, there was an almost tribal affection for Christie and his bullying personality among the Acela media class.
In the month since he announced his bid, Sanders' coverage seems to pale in comparison to comparable Republican candidates who face an arduous task of obtaining their party's nomination. The reluctance is ironic, since the D.C. press corps for months brayed loudly about how Hillary Clinton must face a primary challenger. Now she has one, and the press can barely feign interest?
I don't blame editors and producers for wanting to move on from the mess, but that's not how accountability for the free press is supposed to work. Endowed with extraordinary rights and privileges, a free press has a responsibility to own up to its shortcomings in order to avoid repeating them in the future. And Ebola represented a colossal blunder.
If The New York Times has decided to throw its hat into Murdoch's ring this campaign season, even just occasionally, as with Clinton Cash and The Tangled Clinton Web, the results for Democrats could be troubling. Conservative misinformation is always most dangerous when it's given legitimacy it doesn't deserve.
Palin's accelerated descent this week represents a larger trend within the conservative media. It represents the decline of the tea-party wing of the right-wing press and how a once-flourishing enterprise of outside upstarts, with their eyes on disrupting the GOP hierarchy, have in recent years faded in terms of importance and prestige within that sphere.
It's not even February and Fox News is already having a really bad year. If Obama's rebounding approval ratings didn't sting badly enough, Fox at the same time continues to wrestle with the unfolding crisis over its demonstrably false claim that some parts of Europe have become "no-go zones" for non-Muslims.