Posted Friday, March 23, 2012, at 9:52 AM
By mid-morning Thursday, the smart and serious take on Etch-a-Sketch mania -- I tried to call it Sketchaquiddick but failed to start a trend -- was that pundits and reporters had wronged America. "We’re currently 158 days from the Republican convention," sniffed Brendan Nyhan in the Columbia Journalism Review, "and 'Etch a Sketch-gate' will likely prove to be just as inconsequential."
If so, it will disappoint the entire Democratic establishment and most of the anti-Romney GOP establishment. Reporters covered Sketchaquiddick in part because it was fluff (did any news outlet NOT run the over-rated story of the toy maker's stock price yesterday?) and in larger part because Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich talked about it. Should the press just ignore a candidate's attack line if it's silly? What about an attack that the president's re-election machine starts making everywhere? First, the DNC.
Next, the liberal Super PAC American Bridge.
And finally: Ron Paul gets above it all with an ad the CJR could love.