The video above made the internet rounds as a case of a Mitt Romney campaign aide swearing at reporters. This story in Politico explains the circumstances.
I think most people watching the video will find the reporters come off worse than the political operatives – braying predictable, inane questions which Romney ignores as he walks to his car.
This little vignette is a perfect little illustration of how trivial and degrading daily life on the campaign trail can be. Campaign managers expect the media to pounce on anything their candidate utters, so they do their best to keep him on message and keep reporters away from anything but canned, scripted events.
Reporters, sick of canned, scripted events seize on any opportunity to get without shouting distance of the candidate, hoping to provoke something, anything that will distinguish that moment, their coverage from the sameness of the rest of the news cycle.
This goes on day after day through an exhausting travel schedule, and everybody gets fried and frustrated.
I hate covering presidential campaign events, and I know many other reporters do too. A couple months ago I wrote an essay about a day covering Romney in Philadelphia, prompted by a critique in the Columbia Journalism Review online of my coverage and others’.
I decided the piece was too much media navel-gazing and nobody would care. If three people tell me they want to read it, I’ll clean it up and run it.