Mute it with meta!

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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The mainstream media comes in to Tampa with one mission, Brian, and that’s to subtly give the impression that Romney is floundering: The steering committee has secretly met. The new party line: After a typical August BS tumultuous month in which he was thrown off message by one distraction after another, especially the ones we in the MSM blew wildly out of proportion, Mitt Romney is a man Desperately Seeking Reboot! Here’s NPR’s Liz Halloran (“Romney Reboot: Convention Could Be the Ticket”)

The convention, however, comes in the wake of a tumultuous political period that has put Republicans and Romney, who amassed great wealth as a Boston-based private equity guru, on the defensive about women’s health and reproductive rights, and over the remaking of Medicare under the budget plan of his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Romney drove the conversation further off message Friday, when he made a joke in his home state of Michigan about how “no one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. [E.A.]

See also any references to “Romney 2.0.” … News analysis: a) This new MSM demarche comes at a time when Romney, a decidedly sub-optimal candidate, has nevertheless been slowly gaining ground in swing states; b) Should Romney actually enjoy a resonant rhetorical moment at the convention, remember that you can always  mute it with meta–e.g.: “Badly in need of a traditional convention bounce, Romney appealed to white working class voters by declaring ‘We can do better …'” c) That the latest MSM line actually tracks the official Obama campaign press release line (“convention re-invention”) is only a mild embarrassment at this point; d) “Reboot” is the new “F— Y–;” e) Will the pre-game analysis of Charlotte be “Still-mysterious Obama desperately needs to outline second term agenda”? …

Update: As if on cue …  That Sunday NYT piece not only fits the  MSM template–presenting what are perfectly normal moves (to make swing voters see Romney as an acceptable alternative, to raise issues like welfare that cut his way) as some sort of wrenching, Plan B “strategic shift”–it’s also vaguely sourced to Romney “advisers” who are never quoted, never paraphrased, not even anonymously. The most voluble source seems to be one Steven Law, who works for American Crossroads GPS, a group that not only is not Romney’s campaign but is prohibited by law from plotting strategy with Romney’s campaign. I assume the NYT reporters got off-the-record briefings from actual Romney people, but the reporters in effect ask us to trust them. They ask a lot.  …

Mickey Kaus