Jim, I’ve been critical of Republican Party press strategy for a long time. Media relations is about relationships, and the Republican habit of treating reporters as the enemy is ultimately counterproductive.
The press corps requires a steady diet of information, and if all they’re given is speeches and talking points and conference calls with advisers, a backlash is inevitable. What often happens — and this is essentially what happened to George Allen in 2006 — is that if the GOP won’t give the media access to their candidate, the press will start relying on Democratic sources, so that the Democratic message about the Republican candidate becomes the dominant narrative.
Republican campaign operatives don’t understand this, because none of those operatives has ever been a reporter with a daily deadline.