TIME: Phony and Insidious, Browbeating and Bullying: The McCain War on the Media

The "liberal" media have been a favorite punching bag of the Right for decades now, but John McCain revelled in the flash of the cameras, the glow of the soft studio lighting, the couches of Jay,Jon, and Dave, and the eager ear of a huge cadre of reporters that he affectionately called "my real base".  But that was the old John McCain.  That was the McCain that still had some shred of honor when it came to politics.   That John McCain is gone for good.  

One of the members of the McCain Base is TIME columnist/author Joe Klein.  In today's Swampland, Joe writes of just how phony and insidious this "war" on the media has become.  

I know that some DD'rs have problems with Klein, but do read through to the end where Joe makes the case for his colleagues to stand strong & not to buckle to the McCain machine's bullying tactics.

http://www.time-blog.com/swampland/2008/ 09/angry_amateurs.html

Those of us who have criticized the candidate--and especially those of us who enjoyed good relations with McCain in the past--have been subject to off-the-record browbeating and attempted bullying all year. But things have gotten much worse in recent days: there was McCain's rude, bizarre interview with Time Magazine last week. Yesterday, McCain refused to an interview with Larry King, for God's sake, because Campbell Brown had been caught in the commission of journalism on CNN the night before, asking McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds what decisions Sarah Palin had made as commander-in-chief of the Alaska national guard. (There was an answer that the unprepared Bounds didn't have: she had deployed them to fight fires.)

Sexism and more after the bump...

So what'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. Sure, there are a few outliers--and the tabloid press--who have fixed on baby stories. That was inevitable....the flip side of the personal stories that the McCain team thought would work to their advantage--Palin's moose-hunting and wolf-shooting, and her admirable decision to have a Down Syndrome baby. And yes, when we all fix on the same story, whether it's a hurricane or a little-known politician, a zoo ensues. But the media coverage of the Palin story has been well within the bounds of responsibility. Schmidt is trying to make it seem otherwise, a desperate tactic.

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.

If anyone missed "McCain's Prickly Interview with TIME" head immediately to http://www.time.com/time/politics/articl e/0,8599,1836909,00.html

Emphasis added.

Tags: John McCain, liberal, Media (all tags)



Phony and Insidious, Browbeating and Bullying

So then, who do you think will hold their own against the Backtalk Express?

by January 20 2008-09-03 01:24PM | 0 recs
Re: TIME: Phony and Insidious, Browbeating and Bul

 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.  

Real and responsible but with an eye on ratings. The media are wolves who will turn on you in a second. I am not suddenly in love with the media but it is true they are doing a great service to the country right now. The press is laying out all the crazy off the wall shit that has been the Palin trainwreck and letting the voters to decide if they care or not. Slimy motives but no arguing with the results right now.

Challenge McCain on anything : " POW!"

Challenge Palin on anything : " Sexism!"

by spacemanspiff 2008-09-03 01:34PM | 0 recs

There's a lot of bad wood underneath the veneer.  I'm glad some are finally deciding to report on it.

by fogiv 2008-09-03 01:35PM | 0 recs
Been a long time coming

I hope our media has evolved into something resembling a vertibrate.  I don't think it's okay for any politician, with examples I could point out from the primary season, to simply tell the media how to act and what to cover, and have them blindly going along with it.

Nothing's fiercer than a lover scorned, and McCain and the media were lovers for a long time.  This is going to get messy.

by Dracomicron 2008-09-03 01:48PM | 0 recs
Wow, way to go, Joe!

Joe Klein grows a pair?

Who would'a thunk it?

by WashStateBlue 2008-09-03 01:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow, way to go, Joe!

I have a feeling he was really crushed by the loss of the old McCain.  

by January 20 2008-09-03 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow, way to go, Joe!

Hell, you can put this all at Rick Davis' feet.

He is running the Karl Rove Playbook.

Consolidate the base: Palin as VP

Play the Patriot Card: All the videos and military at the convention last night

Blame the Media: McCain's pulling out of Larry King's show.

That last one is telling, McCain doesn't do that on his own. He would have gone on the show, but this is Davis idea to force the media to back off.

Always worked for Bush, maybe the media as finally had enough of being treated like a bad puppy!

McCain is now being handled by Davis, his every move is by the playbook.

They are turning him into Bob Dole 2008.

by WashStateBlue 2008-09-03 01:57PM | 0 recs
I think a lot of reporters were

it's starting to look like McCain was, to many in the media, The Guy You Could Trust. I wouldn't be surprised if many of them are actually disillusioned.

by Neef 2008-09-03 02:11PM | 0 recs
No way

Aliens have abducted Joe Klein.

We must dispatch Jack Bauer to rescue him.

by molly bloom 2008-09-03 03:59PM | 0 recs
Now Obama has to capitalize.

The interview with O'Reilly is just the first step. Next step is to quietly and surreptitiously increase access and be what McCain refuses to be. Usurp that role so he can't get it back.

by vcalzone 2008-09-03 01:55PM | 0 recs
take the advantage when you have it.

I give credit, the Obama campaign is a good counter-puncher.

I think Obama AND Biden just go everyplace the media wants them and soon.

It's not like they are going to send Palin out to do Hardball and Charlie Rose...

They would be terrified she would gaffe!

She will sent on a tour of the churches and safe venues, with controlled attendance.

No way they are letting her near a reporter.

by WashStateBlue 2008-09-03 02:13PM | 0 recs
this is hilarious

First that McCain is picking a fight with the media and second that Steve Schmidt is making allegations of sexism. How ironic!! Not to mention Joe Klein taking McCain to the tool-shed!!! Speaking of which either Carly Fiorina is crazy or she is really disingenuous if she is brings up Hillary everytime, considering the number of times Republicans have said really vicious and nasty things about her. Here is something Howard Wolfson wrote:

Catch this exchange between a reporter and McCain campaign surrogate Carly Fiorina, as reported by the New York Observer:

   When another reporter asked, "Would you concede that Hillary Clinton has been a victim of sexism emanating from the Republican Party?"
    "No, I would not concede that," she said. The reporters in the briefing room chuckled.
    "I would absolutely say Hillary Clinton has been subjected to sexism," she continued. "But, by the way if there are facts that you can show me I'd be delighted to see them. But I do not think that based on my experience and what I have seen, I do not think the Republican Party subjected her to sexism."

Right.  The Republican party never subjected Hillary Clinton to any sexism.  Perhaps the GOP would have a bit more credibility defending Gov. Palin from sexist attacks if they were a bit more willing to admit their own misdeeds.

by tarheel74 2008-09-03 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: this is hilarious

After your recent diary I think I can finally use what was a loaded term with the appropriate sense of irony:

The Republicans have forced themselves to drink the damn kool-aid.  The extreme fundies are feeling rapturous and, as always, righteous, while those who are more rational are pretty damn worried.  They just have to keep on spinning and spinning.  The sexist jabs at Hillary were there on all sides.  Whenever the Repubs offered any sort of 'supportive' voice, it was just there to try and fan the flames within our party.  

by January 20 2008-09-03 03:54PM | 0 recs
said it before I'll say it again

as the audience goes, so goes the media.  Fox is Fox because of it's audience.  CNN is the better indicator, in my observations, because they move like a cork in the ocean with mainstream public opinion.  The media isn't shaping public perception, it's reflecting it.

That said, while they've soften some today, CNN has had a four day Sarah Palin feeding frenzy to the point of giggles.  Cafferty is going to a burst  blood vessel over the woman and at least once an hour we are treated to the off the hook Carville death stare.  

This can only mean one thing -- mainstream America wants to hear more trash on Sarah Palin.

by GRO 2008-09-03 04:27PM | 0 recs

like the faux drama media creation in denver?  

sorry - the media is a HUGE and utter failure.  they are trying to complete with new media (which is not much better) and balance lowered viewership, lower revenues and trying to maintain legitimacy - its a sad state when they are reporting on made up assassination wishes or faked pregnancies.  but they do.

by canadian gal 2008-09-03 04:50PM | 0 recs
Re: really?

So what do you propose we do about this? Do you think we should just going to let all this insane information about Palin slide?

by vcalzone 2008-09-03 05:20PM | 0 recs
i propose nothing.

i have been pretty close to leaving this blogging world after the past week.  traps were laid - and many, many fell for them and sadly dashed the principles in which they stand for what?  an never going to happen eagleson timer?

the encouraging thing is that im far from alone in feeling this way. (well not on mydd that is)

by canadian gal 2008-09-03 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: i propose nothing.

In my case, it's because I can't stand moral hypocrites. You see sexism on the Dem side all over, I smell it all over the GOP blogs where they post gun porn photos of her and pretend they're being ironic. They're pushing this "sexism" card even though she already denounced it in March. I don't feel sorry for her one bit, because she has played this angle every time she has run for office.

If you gotta go, you'll be missed. But please don't champion the candidacy of a proven liar and borderline fascist because she is very good at using sympathy over her gender to win elections. Just watch her during the Alaska debate that was posted. She raises the sexism card in the first few minutes on a question that is posed to all three candidates.

by vcalzone 2008-09-03 06:01PM | 0 recs
Re: i propose nothing.

Not saying you ARE, just a personal plea, though I suspect my opinion doesn't hold much water.

by vcalzone 2008-09-03 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: really?

That seems to be a mighty broad brush you're using C.G.

by January 20 2008-09-03 09:07PM | 0 recs
Troll Rating for Fun

Every time shattertheceiling troll rates me another angel gets it's wings!

by January 20 2008-09-03 10:03PM | 0 recs
Bring it Jacko and Sicko

It's not gonna work.  Not this time.

by activatedbybush 2008-09-03 05:42PM | 0 recs
so tired; but, i'll give it one last try...
Let's just forego any form of media? Is that how they really want it?
Kinda' flawed/disingenuous policy when the hacks and shills are spouting off here.
If they really believed their own horsepatoot rhetoric, they'd boycott it all (media); but, here they are, in finest feather.
I surmise it's some kind of over-whelming "beat them over the head with it, and it'll come true" strateegery.
We can only hope the "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" comes to pass.
by bullshipper 2008-09-03 11:47PM | 0 recs
good work

Please post this on DKos if you haven't already.

I might add, let's email the media.  Thank Klein for wanting to do his job, and not buckling under pressure from McCain to distort the news.  But also, admonish other media to stop spouting nonsense.  Remind them just how much bigger the Democratic base is, and that as much as McCain threatens the media, we are the ones that can follow through, e.g. boycotts, letter writing campaigns, etc.

by bzzz 2008-09-04 04:23AM | 0 recs
Re: good work

Thanks much.  

Sadly, I'm still not a Kossack.   Anyone here is welcome to cross-post if they wish.  

by January 20 2008-09-04 04:27AM | 0 recs


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