In thinking more about this post as well as this post by Paul Krugman, it seems to me that the political press, whether it’s covering various trade agreements or the Clinton and Sanders campaigns, is incapable of realizing that voters and political activists might actually possess agency (as limited as it might be).
Rather than just being sheep to be moved along and manipulated through ‘clever’ political stratagems by Our Benevolent ‘Centrist’ Overlords, ‘regular folks’, not to mention rank-and-file party supporters, might attempt to exert control over the people and organizations which purport to represent them. Occasionally, they (we) might even succeed.
One reason the media can’t handle electorate agency is class-bias: a lot of them think they’re ‘better than people’, the evidence not withstanding. But the other reason is that an active polity with agency threatens their status and self-image. If the electorate is largely lumpen proles to manipulated with clever ad campaigns, then a journalist, especially those fixated on these tactics, can feel like an insider: he knows the real story. On the other hand, if voters have considerable control over political outcomes, then the political press corps is reduced to a bunch of stenographers, and idiot ones at that.
Unfortunately, we enter campaign season with the political reporters we have, not the ones we wish we had.