The Globe's Romney quandary

Earlier today, Dan Kennedy was struck by the Globe's newfound credulity--in its serialized book-in-waiting on Mitt Romney--regarding the pro-choice bona fides of Mitt's mother, Lenore, who ran for the US Senate in 1970.

Myself, I was interested in how the Globe spun a story about the Romney clan's dog crapping on top of their car during a family road trip:
As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ''Dad!'' he yelled. ''Gross!'' A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who'd been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.
As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management. [emph. added]

Ultimately, both aspects of today's Romney opus highlight the same problem: the potential national impact of the Globe's Romney series is inversely proportional to conservatives' ability to dismiss it as a liberal-media hatchet job.

This quandary is partly Romney's doing, since the Massachusetts media has, like the state itself, been the punchline of many a Romney campaign-trail quip. During an October 2006 visit to Florida, for example, Romney offered this: "There are two factions of reporters where I come from in Massachusetts. We have the Hillary-loving, Ted Kennedy apologists--and we have the liberals."

The Globe obviously wants to be the paper of record where Romney is concerned, especially if he's the GOP nominee. And this, in turn, creates a strong incentive to strive for "balanced" coverage--especially in a massive, high-profile project like this one.

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