You might think that the home stretch of an election campaign, albeit only a midterm one, would be a particularly opportune time to scrutinize the American media’s coverage (if that’s the right word anymore) of the country’s recent politics. But the permanent campaign that has come to characterize our political life means that, by the time the actual campaign rolls around, both the politicians and the media have already said everything they have to say, and a lot more besides, and can only go on repeating more or less the same message that they’ve been pounding out ever since the last election. “Time for Democrats to play the fear card,” wrote Bill Press for The Hill with two weeks to go before the November midterm. What card did he think Democrats had been playing for the previous two years? Perhaps he had been paying no more attention to the long-running...


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