The ‘mystery’ of why the press likes McCain

Drudge today links to yet another clueless attempt to explain "The media’s love affair with McCain." An excerpt:

    One of the curiosities of American politics is the media’s ongoing infatuation with John McCain. A bit of this is based on things such as McCain’s opposition to torture (unfortunately, we can no longer treat opposing torture like opposing child molestation, i.e., something one assumes is standard equipment in a presidential candidate rather than a luxury upgrade). Yet most of the journalistic love affair with the Republican senator from Arizona is based on other factors.
    Consider this typical endorsement from the Orlando Sentinel: While McCain "has stuck to his principles at the risk of sinking his campaign," Mitt Romney "has abandoned positions that would have alienated his party’s conservative base." (Indeed, I checked a computer database and discovered that, in the national media, Romney is at least six times more likely to be described as a flip-flopper than McCain.)…

The author, who is a law professor (thin credentials for expressing the motives of the press), goes on to maintain that nothing could be further from the truth, that McCain’s a big flip-flopper from way back, including such arguments as saying that "McCain has done a 180-degree turn" on abortion, then going on to describe a turn that, even if you accept the characterization provided, certainly doesn’t add up to 180 degrees. (Apparently, law professors are expert in the deepest motivations of journalists, but not too swift on mathematical analogy.)

Anyway, I’ll tell you why news types tend to like McCain (which is not exactly the same as why editorial types like him, but most of us were once news types, too): Access. Ever since 1968, the press has grown used to political campaigns following the Nixon model of limiting access to the candidate, and carefully managing what he says, or at least what the press hears him say.

McCain throws that approach into the rubbish bin where it belongs. He will go to the back of the bus and make himself totally available to the ink-stained wretches who loiter there. And he’ll address anything you want him to, answering questions even to the extent of being available more than we need him to be.

News types love that. And editorial types, most of whom started out as news types, retain a soft spot for that kind of openness. It’s an element in why we like McCain, just as transparency is a factor in why we like Obama. There are other reasons, and we express them. But that straightforward approach is a factor.

6 thoughts on “The ‘mystery’ of why the press likes McCain

  1. bud

    I like openess and transparency too, but those are very secondary reasons for choosing a president. Besides, is that claim even true? Or is he just playing the press. Clearly McCain is not the non-partisan, straight-shooter the press has made him out to be. No need to repeat the volumes of evidence on that. Nor is he particularly ethical. Again, volumes of credible evidence to refute that claim. But he does appear to be someone members of the press can sit down and have a beer with, just like George W. Bush.
    I would suggest that McCain has duped the press. He’s just as much of a phony, partisan political hack as anyone running. If he were anything else he would have jumped all over Bush’s signing statement on the torture bill. That was the last straw with me. Anyone who would roll over and allow that kind of skuldudgery cannot be regarded as anything but a political hack.

  2. Worshipful Master

    The ‘mystery’ of why the press likes McCain* Brad
    It’s no mystery! They all belong to the Council of Foreign Relations [CFR].. I am somewhat shocked that you don’t know the secret handshake?
    Praise the Great Architect, you don’t belong to Bush’s Skull and Crossbones cult and have to share his stupid mystery coffin with him….

  3. Howard Roarke

    What a sad state of affairs – the leader of the free world elected because he manipulates the press in an “accessible” way. If this is true, the media should be regarded even more negatively than they already are. God help us all.
    McCain has always looked out for the person that matters the most – John McCain. The majority of those in the media have given him a free pass because he serves their needs. In short, he consistently jabs the Republican Party and the Conservative movement through his very public statements and opposing viewpoints. In turn, McCain gets the headlines, attention and notoriety he craves. It’s been a symbyotic relationship from the beginning and it will continue until he dies or leaves office. I’m guessing he dies before he leaves.
    Fox News continues to prop him up this primary season because the prospect of a Republican President and a Democratic Congress is delicious. The continued controversy is what they want because it drives ratings and interest. To Fox News, McCain has the best chance of winning in the general election versus a Democrat. The controversy he stirs within his own party is an added bonus. In the end, it is about ratings and dollars. Pure and simple.
    McCain finally lost me with immigration. Never can I remember an elected politician trying so hard to ram a piece of legislation down the throats of the American people like that. Sad to say little Lindsey Graham was his cohort in the crime. Every dirty trick and loophole was attempted, and now he has miraculously changed his view and “border security” is the first priority. Nothing like a little political expediency for the proclaimed Maverick and truth-teller, heh?
    I will never support a hack that abuses those in his own party when they simply disagree with him on an issue.
    It is unfortunate people have such short memories. Of course, guys like McCain continue to get re-elected because of this. In the end, we all lose.

  4. Richard L. Wolfe

    First of all let’s give the devil his due. McCain is a media creation and they stood by their golden boy enough to get him a win in S.C. But, If I were a McCain supporter I would be very nervous. In one of the most conservative states in the nation in a republican primary 67% of the voters DIDN’T vote for McCain. In a general election how many of those 67% will simply stay home?

  5. Patriot

    These are a bunch of sour intolerants who don’t really belong in a revitalizing conservative movement of integrity. They never seem to consider the facts. Holy Scriptures themselves speak of the necessity of compassion for the poor refugees – ‘the strangers in your midst.’ Giving them a break has nothing to do with a tight border, for which McCain has argued for for quite a long time. If these intolerants want to win a national election they had better think twice about excluding forever the Latin vote. As for integrity on torture, votes etc, the 2005 Prize for Integrity & Leadership went to who? John McCain. I guess slanderers like the above can write in, but that doesn’t mean the educated and enlightened American public will listen to them. They should crawl back into their sour dark holes. While the rest of us can enjoy McCain’s goodness, transparency, and humor. Go Mac Go!

  6. Howard Roarke

    ‘Educated’ and ‘enlightened’ have no business being used to describe McCain supporters. If these words were people, they would protest for sure and hang their heads in shame.
    Welcome to a world where merely reminding people of the what the man was saying 3 months ago draws cat calls of “slanderers.” This is hilarity on the highest level.
    McCain is for McCain. The rest of us laugh at those who readily salute and fall into line behind the ultimate egotist.
    To borrow a request from the man himself, “wake up my friends.”


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