You think you're depressed by this political campaign season? Pity the poor reporters, some of whom are facing a career crisis as they stare into the abyss of their jobs. The rattling revelations started with New York Times Magazine reporter Mark Leibovich, who bemoaned the soul-destroying "joylessness" of the 2012 campaign trail. "For the first time since I started writing about politics a decade ago, I found myself completely depressed by a campaign. 'How am I ever going to get through it?' is not the question you want to be asking yourself as you enter what are supposed to be the pinnacle few months of your profession," Leibovich writes. Now Walter Shapiro, who has covered nine elections, tells Politico: “This is worse than normal, a lot less fun, and it feels impossible for us to change the conversation." People are "feeling grateful that it’s almost over,” notes Maggie Haberman, who's covering the race for Politico. “There has been this ongoing lack of enthusiasm."
Several in the media have the distinct impression that both sides are simply running the clock out until the game is called. “The campaigns are trying so hard to manipulate us, to work the refs, to withhold access," says NBC News senior White House correspondent Chuck Todd. "If these candidates were comfortable, the campaign might be joyful to cover.” A bored-to-tears Leibovich grouses: “If the last campaign was the change campaign, this is the no-change campaign.”