The media has this weird causality paradox, where they'll do things, and then pretend those things and their effects just magically occurred, and merrily report on the aftermath. That's how you get silly spectacles like the chattering class not reporting on a candidate's public pronouncements and then turning around and downgrading that candidate because the chattering class didn't report on his statements. The problem is the media, which is a major and powerful actor in our democracy, hews to an evidently absurd ethos which states that they cannot in any way influence political outcomes. Of course, there's absolutely no way they can avoid influencing elections, if only due to what they choose to cover. But if they state that publicly, the whole facade crashes down.To quote Prof. Farnsworth: "No fair! You changed the outcome by observing it!" The note that Ezra links to is pretty egregious -- the media is judging John Edwards as a failure because they (the media) are doing a crappy job of covering him.
We've seen this before -- the media crapped all over Al Gore in 2000, and then they turned around and talked about how "weak" he was as a candidate, totally ignoring their own history of outright lying about him. (No, he never said he invented the Internet. Shut up already.)