Mistah Kurtz gives both sides of the question:
"Without question, the Washington media descended unfairly on Dean -- both because he was the front-runner and because he's leading a movement that's hostile to their insider culture," said Yale historian David Greenberg, author of the book "Nixon's Shadow." "They turned the 'scream' from an amusing if slightly weird sidelight into a four-day front-page story that may seriously damage his chances."
But Nicholas Lemann, dean of Columbia's journalism school, said: "I'm not buying into the notion that the media made him and the media destroyed him, all before a single vote was cast. Actual phenomena happened in the world that made him a story, rather than the press.""
"A lot of people rally to a candidate when they feel he's being persecuted unfairly by the media," said Yale's Greenberg. "The anti-Washington sentiment in the country includes a lot of anti-Tim Russert, anti-Chris Matthews sentiment.""
"But even when Dean was riding high, he made little effort to charm his chroniclers. The candidate is not big on small talk and, with his Park Avenue upbringing, never served up a personal narrative (unlike Edwards's son-of-a-millworker refrain and Kerry's Vietnam heroism). There were no warm-and-fuzzy features about his family life -- until he belatedly produced his wife for a People spread this month. The campaign became so determined to showcase Judy Dean that she joined her husband for the final New Hampshire swing and aides distributed thousands of videotapes of their interview with ABC's Sawyer.
Marc Sandalow of the San Francisco Chronicle said Dean was "abrupt" and cut short a 15-minute interview when he didn't like the questions. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd said Dean never called for a promised five-minute interview, "which left me five minutes to think about why his candidacy was sputtering." Roger Simon of U.S. News & World Report wrote that Dean was "not likable."
"The Washington press corps can do the most amazing imitation of a clique of snotty high school kids," wrote Texas columnist Molly Ivins, "and they were determined to find that Dean was not good enough for their clique from the beginning."
That is one of the dominant themes on the Dean campaign's blog, as MSNBC.com noted. "This whole Dean is angry thing is media spin," one reader complained. Said another: "WE have to work harder than ever to get the truth out, because the media is spinning this ANTI DEAN all the way!"
By January, said Newsweek and NBC commentator Jonathan Alter, Dean "became a piñata. In politics you have to think before you open your yap." At the same time, Alter said, "the binge-purge media digestive system means that everyone processes stories in a bigger and faster way. It's kind of like eating a big meal -- the media gets more bloated but also starts looking out for its next meal faster.""