When he was confronted by the New York Times' Jeff Zeleny to clarify a comment he made about Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum showed he's having trouble with the kitchen heat as his campaign begins to flame out.
It seems Santorum recently told some supporters he thought Romney was "the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama."
Then, when asked about his comment by Zeleny, Santorum went off on the reporter. "Quit distorting my words. It's bull****." Later Santorum declared he would take on the New York Times, whatever that means.
In the bare knuckles world of a national presidential campaign, it seems the former Pennsylvania senator can dish out the bull**** - Obama is leading Christians to the guillotine, for example - but he can't man up when it comes time to justify something inflammatory he said in a public forum. All he had to tell Zeleny was, "I should have added the words 'on health care'" and that would have been that.
But this is part of the "elite media" myth pushed by Santorum, Gingrich and proxies like Sarah Palin. When you don't like the message, attack the messenger and if you're a conservative and it's the New York Times, kill the messenger.
What does "elite media" even mean? Is it a compliment or criticism?
In the case of the New York Times, coverage of candidates has always been rigorous, regardless of one's political persuasion. Democrats get hammered just as much as Republicans. When Democratic congressmen Charlie Rangle and Anthony Weiner got in hot water, the Times' coverage and criticism of both was relentless. Obama is blasted on its opinion and news pages all the time, so what's Gingrich talking about when he says "the elite media is covering for Obama"?
It's a fallacy founded on the notion that coverage of anything conservative that attempts to present the good, the bad and the ugly is evidence of a "liberal media bias."
Mrs. Gingrich No. 2 decides to speak out on her ex's strange ideas about matrimony and Newt gets his knickers in a twist because - OMG! - the media are reporting what she said. But recall Gingrich had no such qualms when Bill Clinton was the subject of sallacious media coverage.
Not only is it hypocritical, it reveals the utter contempt Santorum, Gingrich, Palin and so many other conservatives have for the electorate who they regard as just so many sheep who must be spoonfed only what the candidates want them to see and hear.