Can you imagine the disappointment that some in the mainstream media were feeling only months ago as they pondered the prospect of covering the long campaign trail of the GOP primary with Mitt Romney, John Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain for the next half year?
Not exactly compelling political thinkers of our time offering solutions. And certainly none in the group will ever be accused of having an engaging personality that lights up a room with their presence. Worst yet for the media, none of the candidates could be counted on to provide a biting sound bite or a good dose of controversy and conflict on a daily basis. Sure, Gingrich could be relied upon for the occasional dog whistle, and Santorum is always willing to bend over backwards to provide anti-gay rhetoric, but both have been thoroughly marginalized over the years, and they are so 1990s.
But still, there was hope. Maybe Donald Trump with his bizarre comb-over, inflated ego, and world class racism could ride the birther wave throughout the campaign and...oh, never mind.
Well, there is always Sarah Palin. Say what you will about Palin, but she's a star. We know this because some in the media have continually told us so for three long years as they have eagerly awaited her latest tweets of wisdom. Never mind her horrendous negative ratings, that her reality show was canceled, and that the documentary of her life was panned. The media still finds her fascinating. Sure, many accuse Palin of being a divisive self-promoting media troll who desperately wants only to be a celebrity and who has no grasp of policy or reality. But in the eyes of the media, that's a good thing. While the media can still be counted on to gather whenever and wherever Palin decides to appear, the tedious cock-teasing of will she or won't she get in the race is becoming tiresome even for a loyal media, especially when there's more crazy on the block.
Enter Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. They are the answer to the media prayers. While Bachmann and Perry and their controversial political views are not exactly new to the political stage, they are presented as something new. Despite offering no viable policy stance or constructive solutions to our many challenges, Bachmann and Perry are welcomed into the political arena as if they serious individuals, receiving a wealth of the media attention. For a lazy media that seeks conflict and sensationalism, the daily ramblings from Bachmann and Perry are sound bites sent from heaven. And who can blame the media? Can you imagine the lost revenue in media sales, cable ratings, and web-media clicks without having them in the race?