Things are not all death and decay in journalism. Now that Lou Dobbs said he's considering running for president in 2012, covering the GOP primary could be the easiest path to fame and riches left for a reporter.
Fred Thompson had Dobbs on his radio show today, and asked him if he'd given thought to a presidential run. Dobbs said "yes," adding that he's engaging the services of all sorts of experts to give him the best advice.
Which means that the 2012 primaries—even if Dobbs runs as an independent, his campaign will be perceived as an adjunct of the festival of white rage that will determine the GOP's standard-bearer—will, god willing, be nothing short of a phantasmagorical Hunter Thompson-esque fever-dream populated by snake-handlers, idiots, Mormons, and fat, chain-smoking television hacks. Between Dobbs, Sarah Palin, and whatever Glenn Beck's 100-year-
"plan" has in store for us, the wingnut beat will be a life-changing event for those reporters lucky enough to chronicle it in 2012. The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick famously pioneered the paper's "conservative beat" in 2004, but it was largely a survey of the intellectual undercurrents of neoconservatism and seems to have been abandoned. Whoever picks up the mantle from him in two years will be richly rewarded. It's never too early to start strategizing.