Friday, March 28, 2008

Media's Swooning Over McCain Echoes MSM's Love Affair With Bush In 2000


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."


Distributorcap said...

yep,. they are in love with johnny boy -- and no matter what he says right now, they wil fawn all over him and say what a statesman he is -- and an adult.

his gaffes (shia vs sunni) - what gaffes -- all in fun.

as we are seeing, the MS media is becoming less and less important -- they still command a lot, but it is getting smaller

Marc McDonald said...

Hi, Distributorcap, yes, you're right. And the MSM can be counted on to not make a big deal over things like hate spewer John "Catholism is the Great Whore" Hagee's endorsement of McCain (or, for that matter, the fact that McCain sought Hagee's endorsement).

Anonymous said...

Your post states: 'As Gabler points out, "reporters routinely attach 'maverick,' 'straight talker' and 'patriot' to (McCain) like Homeric epithets."'

"Maverick" is a term McCain coined for himself after breaking partisan ranks and joining the "gang of 14." It was an excuse for violating party loyalty, and depending who you talk to, it is much an insult as it is praise.

"Straight Talker" is another self-coined descriptor. Anyone using that is simply parroting the candidate and should be ashamed. If he was a straight talker, he would be openly discussing his amnesty plans for border criminals and their geographically bastardized children. How can a serious candidate propose legitimizing 20,000,000 criminals who are, with the help of felonious American employers, taking jobs desperately needed by Americans? If we are indeed looking at another depression, we have 25% unemployment to look forward to as it is. That is hardly a Homeric position if your first loyalty is to Americans.

"Patriot." John McCain is a patriot. Love him or hate him, his patriotism is unquestionable. It is hardly swooning to recognize that.

Marc McDonald said...

>>>"Patriot." John McCain is a
>>>patriot. Love him or hate him,
>>>his patriotism is

So was John Kerry.
And yet the BushBots and their allies viciously smeared him and claimed he wasn't really a war hero.

Anonymous said...

"So was John Kerry.
And yet the BushBots and their allies viciously smeared him and claimed he wasn't really a war hero."

Your response is evasive. McCain was a war hero who acted with extreme bravery and honor. He endured hardships John Kerry has never dreamed of. Kerry was a soldier who was awarded for doing his duty and for acting bravely, but the two experiences cannot be compared. McCain's love of country is a core value. His POW experience and documented self-sacrifice for his men are in a cmpletely different league from Kerry's war experience. Some of that was based on opportunity: Kerry was never a POW. I am glad he wasn't, but maybe he would have acted with honor and bravery if he had been. Or maybe he would have peed his pants. We will never know. What we do know is that Kerry publicly trashed his country after the war and during his presidential campaign.

Your comparison cannot be seriously considered. The fact McCain is a patriot is still irrefutable. His policies may be whack, but his motives are directed by love of country.

Now if you want to attack his judgement, I will shut up. But do not dilute the legitimate arguments with baseless personal attacks which obviously arise from emotion and are devoid of fact.

If you believe McCain is anything other than patriotic, you will have to provide strong support. You cannot do that. In fairness, you have not directly made that charge, but the original post is weakened by the absence of your correction of Gabler's quote.

So let's settle the issue. Do you believe the press's recognition of McCain's patriotism falls into the "swooning" category? For the record, I think the press would be remiss if they did not recognize it. His patriotism is a major tenent of his public identity. Ignoring that would be like ignoring that Hillary is female or that Obama is half African-American.

Marc McDonald said...

The point is, John Kerry was a war hero. The chickenhawk Bush and his lying sack-of-shit followers will burn in hell some day for the way they smeared Kerry's good name (as well as their other crimes).

>>>What we do know is that Kerry
>>>publicly trashed his country
>>>after the war and during his
>>>presidential campaign.

Stop parroting the Swift Boat liars and think for yourself for a change. Kerry wasn't trashing his country. He was attacking the lying politicians that got us involved in the pointless fiasco that was Vietnam (a war that, like Iraq, was based on lies).

>>> Do you believe the press's
>>>recognition of McCain's
>>>patriotism falls into
>>> the "swooning" category?

Yes, I do believe this--and it's supported by the facts. The so-called "liberal" media loves McCain (just like they loved Bush in 2000 and they loved Reagan).

Anonymous said...

How do I respond to this without backing you into a corner and getting a defensive response? Sigh.

I never said John Kerry was not a war hero. I said his heroics did not rise to the level of John McCain's.
What facts support your belief? That does not even make sense. Since when is the reporting of historical, rock-solid, documented facts (McCain's patriotic military record and his shocking self-sacrifice as a POW) by the media a bad thing? That is what reporters do. Please go to: for a brief description of what a journalist does. I believe I am on firm ground here.

Remove yourself for a moment from the 2000 election and from the 2004 election. I am aware that takes us away from the theme of the original post, but if you do not mind, please indulge me because I am inferring something from your response that you may not truly be implying, and I want to let you make the final statement on this issue to set the record straight. My inference is that you believe John McCain is not a patriot or that he is being made out to be more of a patriot in the media than he deserves. So if you will, please answer these questions directly:
1) Do you believe John McCain is a patriot based on his war record?
2) Can journalistic integrity be maintained if the media ignores or downplays his heroic deeds?

Elements of your original post in general and (Neal?) Gabler's quote in particular are true or they are at least arguable, but I have to take the hard line when you impugn the sacrifices of an individual who has endured so much for the principals of his country.

Marc McDonald said...

John McCain is a hero. I am not disputing that. I am willing to give him full credit as a war hero.
However, I will not go out of my way to salute his heroism until the GOP apologizes for sliming and smearing John Kerry in the 2004 election. It was truly sickening and despicable the way the GOP slimed Kerry in 2004. (And no, I'm not impressed with Republicans' arguments that it was all the fault of the Swift Boat 527 group).
It was the Republican party as a whole that was responsible for this smearing of an American hero.
Anyone who doubts this should have spent time listening to the GOP's propaganda network (i.e. HateWing radio) during the 2004 campaign. It was wall-to-wall "Kerry is a traitor" mudslinging from the likes of chickenhawks like Rush and Hannity.
The GOP owes Kerry (and the American people) an apology.

Anonymous said...

It is a shame you let the actions of others get in the way of doing what you know is right. It is just silly to think the GOP is ever going to apologize for misrepresenting and maligning Kerrys war record, but two wrongs do not make a right. It is possible to be a strong, principled progressive without disrespecting the military or those individuals who have given of themselves honorably for their country. Your refusal to "go out of your way to salute McCain for his heroism" is stubborn and wrong. It is important to be objective in evaluating candidates, and if objectivity is clearly lacking, it will cast doubt on the logic and credibility of your valid arguments and observations. Progressive does not mean partisan. If you truly wish to establish this as a progressive blog, you will stick to your principals and avoid making emotional decisions. And I hope you will realize that this is a critique, not a criticism. We all need that from time to time if our voices are to truly reflect our beliefs. Stay on track, my brother! You are halfway there in your admission McCain is a hero. You will be fully principled on this issue when you renounce the part of Grabler's quote regarding McCains heroism and the media's recognition of it. We are not splitting hairs here. This is a very important topic in my view because the type of sacrifice for country we are talking about transcends politics. We can never thank our POW's enough.