To digby, who posts a clip of Mitt Romney giving an interview to a local TV station and makes the good point that "This is why politicians love local news. They can go straight to the people with their lies, without even the lame pushback you might get from the political press."
Exactly. The broadcaster in the clip here -- which, note, is a long one, stretching on for about seven minutes -- actually asks some pretty decent questions, ending up with asking whether there's any difference between the Romney plan and what George W. Bush did. However, there's basically no follow-up at all, and any professional politician can easily use any question, no matter how artfully framed, to pivot to whatever talking point he or she wants to use. The way to break that up is through the use of follow-up questions, which at the very least can make it clear that the pol is ducking something.
So instead, it's basically a seven-minute Romney infomercial given extra legitimacy because it's on the news. Of course, it's not just Romney; all presidential candidates, Barack Obama most certainly included, do this.
The truth is that very few local news correspondents, anchors, or producers have enough knowledge of national issues to really be able to challenge presidential candidates, even if they wanted to (and of course if they do, the candidates can always shop themselves to the other local channels). Even worse, perhaps, Pew tells us that most viewers trust their local news more than they trust any other news source.
I say "perhaps" because I'm not sure it's all that bad a thing that this happens. I think it's a basically a good thing that presidential candidates can get their views out there, after all. It just shouldn't be thought of as a substitute for taking questions from the national press, who know the issues...well, certainly better than the typical local broadcaster.
But good or bad, it's certainly an important part of the campaign, one that we typically pay infinitely less attention to than ads but that for all we know may be more important. And: nice catch!