The mainstream media typically pay a great deal of attention to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. In the past few days, two prominent lefty bloggers have ventured to explain why.
In a post this past Saturday, the last day of CPAC 2014, Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall asserted that the top two reasons the conference gets a lot of media coverage are that its proximity to Washington makes it "an easy and cheap decision" for news outlets "to send at least one reporter and often many," and that:
[i]n recent years, especially since Obama became President, CPAC's wild press popularity and attention has been driven by what we might call a tacit conspiracy...between the event organizers and the people who cover it. You be outrageous; we'll be outraged. And everyone will be happy...This has become even more the case as the contemporary Conservative Movement has become less a matter of ideology than a sort of performance art...
Marshall also opined that there's a third, somewhat less important reason for high-volume coverage of CPAC: "Reporters are simply more interested as a general matter in the GOP because they're used to thinking that's where the power and action is. The fact that reporters, disproportionately, do not identify with the ideology doesn't nullify this fact but paradoxically reinforces it."
On Monday, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas piggybacked on Marshall's arguments and offered some commentary of his own:
...I wish every day was CPAC day. The shit that comes out of that conference is pure entertainment gold!...
If you're looking for crazy, only [the conservative] side delivers...Netroots Nation [the annual event that's essentially the liberal equivalent of CPAC] is a buffet of panels on how to win elections, how to take action, how to influence change. There's very little of the red meat that characterizes CPAC. And that's a good thing. We're focused on winning, they're focused on making themselves feel good by putting Donald f'n Trump on stage. If you're the media, which is more compelling?
Let the media cover Republicans trying to out-crazy each other. I'm not sure how they think that helps their cause, but kudos to them! It's working! They are so crazy, they're proving irresistible to the "if it bleeds, it leads" crowd. Let liberals focus on the more important stuff: Like how to make sure we keep the CPAC crowd out of power.