Nyhan argues that Romney is being caricatured as inauthentic. Waldman half-agrees; he thinks that Romney's pandering is self-evident but "that doesn't mean that everything [Romney] does should be presented as evidence of his phoniness." Bernstein zooms out:
[T]he big takeaway from this isn't whether or not the press gets these things "wrong" -- that is, it's not about whether or not Mitt Romney is authentic. The point is that once they adopt that frame, anything that happens is interpreted through it -- so if Al Gore in 2000 said something factually incorrect it was always about Gore as a liar, whereas when Bush in 2000 said something factually incorrect, it was about Bush being too stupid to know the difference. Part of interpreting the press -- that is, part of following campaigns and politicians intelligently, since we all do it through the press -- involves identifying these sorts of things, realizing when they drive coverage, and discounting appropriately in response.
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