Thursday, September 4, 2008

McCain to Press: How Ya Like Me Now?

For the longest, many of us had been complaining about how the media had been too cozy with Sen. John McCain in the past. All these years of eating his barbecues, gifting him with donuts and looking the other way on his inconsistencies and gaffes, substantial and superficial alike, leading up to the last couple of months, when the mainstream press finally decided it was time to ask some real questions, have come to an end it seems.

The McCain camp have taken a calculated campaign risk and decided to attack the same media that has fawned on him for years—and label any questioning of his running mate’s achievements, record, etc as sexist—in an effort to garner sympathy from those who might be swayed by an argument based on the punditry being unfair to him. Will it work? Sure. In significant numbers to affect the outcome of the presidential election? Dunno. I hope not. But, one byproduct that I’m enjoying seeing and hearing is the press admitting —by way of a rebuttal of McCain’s newly minted position against them and their current awakening to the need of equitable coverage of both campaigns—that yes, they were indeed softballing him all this time.

CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin has been quoted as saying he considered McCain’s new found disdain for the press "ironic and rather unbecoming" considering the “adoring” coverage he’s gotten over the years. Welcome, Jeffrey. So glad you could join the rest of us with our eyes open.

Time’s Joe Klein, on his
Swampland blog, however, went for the jugular:

…[W]hat’s going on here? Two things. McCain is just plain angry at us. By the evidence presented in the utterly revealing Time interview, he’s ballistic. This is a politician who needs to see himself as the man on the white horse, boldly traversing a muddy field…any intimations that he’s gotten muddied in the process, or has decided to throw mud, are intolerable. The second thing is more insidious: Steve Schmidt has decided, for tactical reasons, to slime the press. He wants the public to believe that there is an unfair–sexist (you gotta love it)–personal assault going on against Palin and her family. This is a smokescreen, intended to divert attention from the fact the very real and responsible vetting that is taking place in the media–about the substance of Palin’s record as mayor and governor.

He adds:

There is a tendency in the media to kick ourselves, cringe and withdraw, when we are criticized. But I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is "a task from God." The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.

The press will never be as clear, impartial and objective as need be. But this is a serious election, one whose outcome will affect the United States and its people for the next quarter century, and for that we need the press asking the same questions and with the same zeal of both sides. No more Rev. Wright 24-7 while McCain gets a free pass on the likes of Pastor Hagee and flip-flopping on the so-called agents of intolerance. We could’ve told you McCain was gonna stab you in the back eventually, MSM. Now you know what people in blue cities/states have learned the hard way about Republican politicians who court them—I’m looking at you Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney: deep down they truly despise you and once they need to pander to the extreme right of the GOP, they’ll drop you like a bad habit.

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