By MARC MCDONALD
In case you haven't heard, it's now official: John McCain is the darling of the mainstream media. And as reporters swoon over McCain, some of us are experiencing deja vu.
Where have we seen this sort of fawning MSM coverage before? Oh, that's right: it was in the 2000 campaign, when the MSM fell in love with George W. Bush.
Although today I'm sure they'd like to forget it ever happened, the fact is, reporters fawned over Bush in 2000. And while this love affair was going on, the media was sharpening its claws to attack Al Gore over GOP-invented bogus controversies like "I invented the Internet."
As Al Franken pointed out in Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, the media just plain didn't like Gore:
"Somewhere along the line, the pack decided that Al Gore was a sanctimonious, graspy exaggerator running against a likeable if dim-witted goof-off."
As Franken notes, the widely respected Pew Charitable Trusts foundation documented that the tone of the media coverage was decidedly anti-Gore and pro-Bush during the campaign.
As Pew notes, a comprehensive survey of 1,149 news stories from 17 leading news sources in 2000 showed a "positive" slant in 24 percent of the stories about Bush (versus only 13 percent for Gore). By contrast, the "negative" slant was 56 percent for Gore versus 49 percent for Bush.
And now a MSM love affair for a GOP candidate is happening all over again. As Gabler points out, "reporters routinely attach 'maverick,' 'straight talker' and 'patriot' to (McCain) like Homeric epithets." As Chris Matthews of MSNBC put it, the media is now "McCain's base."