Conor Friedersdorf does conservatives a great service by keeping his eye on the conservative partisan media. But I'm not at all convinced that they're the ones who did in Jon Huntsman, as Friedersdorf would have it.
Here's the question, and it's one for which we don't really know the answer: to what extent does the conservative partisan media -- Rush Limbaugh, Fox News in general and their various hosts in particular, the other conservative talk radio hosts, and conservative web sites -- function independently of the rest of the Republican Party? Keeping in mind that when I say "Republican Party" I mean the expanded party -- both formal party organizations and the larger party network, which includes party-aligned groups and individuals.
I don't think we know the answer overall. But when it comes to Jon Huntsman, it's pretty clear to me at least that Fox News and the rest of them were perfectly in accord with the rest of the party. After all, Huntsman exits the campaign after earning practically no high-visibility endorsements from party actors (I think he managed a few minor ones in New Hampshire, but that's about it). Nor do I expect that he raised a lot of money from the party network. Of course, it's sometimes very difficult to figure out who is influencing who in these things, but in this particular case I don't think it's hard at all: Republicans just weren't interested in what Huntsman was selling. And while Friedersdorf's larger point is that the Republican partisan press influenced the entire environment that candidates must compete within, again I just don't buy the idea that Huntsman, 2012, could have been a major factor in any plausible GOP environment.
Again, however, I think that we just don't know enough about how independent the partisan press is, either individually or as a whole. There's certainly plenty of data being generated during this election cycle; with any luck, we'll know a whole lot more once the people who study this sort of thing report back in a while.