Is the media riding to the rescue of the Democratic Party by savaging Dr. Dean? Peggy Noonan suggests that this may be the case. “The journalistic establishment has become an anti-Dean mover,” Noonan writes (in the Wall Street Journal and also summarized in The Washington Times’ Inside Politics).

Noonan writes:

“Tuesday’s New York Times piece on the absent Mrs. Dean, for instance’that was a piece with a sting. They decided to front-page it six days before the caucuses. The morning network news shows and the cable news shows are full of Mr. Dean’s gaffes, Mr. Gephardt’s rise and Mr. Edwards’s potential. Why? It is true that the press wants a race. They don’t want to spend the next three months filing ‘Dean Wins Again’ and ‘Why Kerry Failed to Ignite.’

“But it’s more than that. Reading between the lines and listening between the lines, it’s hard to avoid the thought that reporters don’t really like Mr. Dean. That’s not a shock. He seems as unlovable (unless you are a Deaniac) as he is improbable. But I suspect there’s something else at work.

“I wonder if the mainstream media aren’t trying to save the Democratic Party from Mr. Dean. They know he’s not a likely winner down the road. Boomer reporters who’ve been through the Clinton experience have sharp eyes. I suspect they’re put off by Mr. Dean’s Clintonian aspects, such as his tendency to dissemble.”

As one commentator said, Monday, caucus day, can’t get her quick enough for Howard Dean.