One of my big conclusions was that Twitter revealed the difference between good reporting, and reporting that just gets attention. Twitter unleashed a tsunami of gaffe reporting and so much pack-journalism ridiculousness—remember “Binders Full Of Women?”—that I almost felt bad for Romney, who was an absolutely perfect mismatch for the meme-ification of campaigns. Moments that were plainly just cringe or goofy were treated as outrageous or offensive. On top of that, reporters were suddenly expressing their personal political opinions, implicitly or explicitly, for the entire world to see in a way that news consumers hadn’t seen before.
Some conservatives, like Ben Shapiro, have said that the media’s superficial and unfair treatment of Romney in 2012 forever ruined the public’s trust in the press and allowed Donald Trump to skate through, four years later. I don’t agree with that. But I do think that 2012 did reputational damage to the political press and taught a younger generation of first-time reporters a bunch of bad lessons.