Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain's War On The News Media

Facts are stubborn things. -- RONALD REAGAN
I feel more than justified in having been harshly critical of mainstream media coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign from the jump because I know of what I speak: This is my ninth campaign as a reporter, editor and now blogger.

But that does not explain, let alone forgive, John McCain's war on the news media -- from bristling about being called out on his serial lies to denying any and all access to Sarah Palin that is not carefully scripted to the big guy's own disappearing act.

Then there was the hysterical tug of war between Palin's handlers and the networks before her meet-and-greet yesterday at the United Nations. Cameras would be permitted but not reporters because they might actually report on what this remarkably vapid woman might say.

When the handlers relented and reporters were allowed access, this is typical of the breathless encounters they wrote about:

"Ms. Palin and Mr. Kissinger sat on blue couches, separated by an end table with photographs of President Nixon and President Reagan on it. As photographers were led in, Mr. Kissinger could be heard saying that he gave someone 'a lot of credit for what he did in Georgia.'

" 'Good, good,' Ms. Palin said. 'And you’ll give me more insight on that, also, huh? Good.' "

To which I can only add, good grief!

There is no question that the war against the media is being choreographed by Steve Schmidt, Rick Davis and their merry band of Rovian pranksters. Yes, the selfsame Davis who hurls fire and brimstone at The New York Times for not swallowing the campaign's lies whole while lying about his involvement with failed mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

These bums understand that the news media is widely reviled by the public. They know that the war on the media is a way of diverting attention from real issues, including Palin's inability to say anything that is not written on a cue card. And that despite rumblings about a rebellion by some of the bigger media outlets, there will not be widespread resistance.

Will the war backfire? Eventually. But it will be the voters and not John McCain and Sarah Palin who will be choking on the smoke.

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