Why did Jon Huntsman's presidential campaign fail? One theory is that conservative media didn't do him any favors.
The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf breaks down how the GOP field was treated by Fox News and right-wing talk radio, and finds that Huntsman really didn't get a fair shake.
The Republican primary voters who rely on Fox News and talk radio to inform them got little help from their chosen information sources forming an accurate impression of the GOP candidates. They overestimated Michele Bachmann, who became a darling of the conservative movement by signalling her ideological bonifides during Fox News appearances; they overestimated Herman Cain, himself a talk-radio host, based on the cultural cues he sent; they overestimated Rick Perry after he was uncritically praised in movement media; and they vastly overestimated Newt Gingrich's conservatism because of his rhetoric.
Support for all these people skyrocketed when voters knew only what they'd been told by the ideologues they trust. And little wonder that, once these candidates were subject to scrutiny by the mainstream media, debate moderators, and rivals, the impression of Republican primary voters changed drastically. Of course, voter impressions naturally change to some degree over the course of a campaign, but I argue there has never been a primary in modern times wherein ideological media misinformed the Republican rank-and-file to so extreme a degree.
(Interestingly, RedState's Erick Erickson totally dismissed Huntsman's candidacy early on, then later acknowledged that he'd been insufficiently appreciate of his conservatism early in the campaign.)