There are liberals who think Sarah Palin is a coverage-craving loony. There are conservatives who think the media are being unfair to her. The New York Times's Ross Douthat, who might fairly be described as something of a liberal's conservative, thinks both. "It's a grim spectacle on both sides," he writes, in the wake of the "blood libel" frenzy last week. "The media manage to be consistently unfair to the former Alaska governor--gossipy and hostile in their reportage, hysterical and condescending in their commentary--even as they follow her every move with a fascination bordering on obsession." Meanwhile, though Palin professes to hate the media, "press coverage--good, bad, whatever--is clearly the oxygen she craves. ... Her Twitter account reads like a constant plea for the most superficial sort of media attention." Thus, here's Douthat's proposal as self-appointed "relationship counselor":

To the media: Cover Sarah Palin if you want, but stop acting as if she's the most important conservative politician in America. Stop pretending that she has a plausible path to the presidency in 2012. (She doesn't.) Stop suggesting that she’s the front-runner for the Republican nomination. (She isn't.) And every time you’re tempted to parse her tweets for some secret code or crucial dog whistle, stop and think, this woman has fewer Twitter followers than Ben Stiller, and then go write about something else instead. To Palin: You were an actual politician once (remember that?), but you’re becoming the kind of caricature that your enemies have always tried to make of you. So maybe it's time to turn off your iPad for a while, and take a break from Facebook and Fox News.