Why Does the Media Heart McCain?

At Eschacon this weekend, liberal bloggers declared war on the media.

What was Eschacon? As I noted Saturday:

Eschacon '08: Many leading progressive bloggers are in Philly this weekend...Atrios, Digby, Jane Hamsher, TRex and more...Thers at Firedoglake has details of the panels and participants, and via Avedon at Sideshow, I see Sifonian is live-blogging of some of the panels.

NYU Journalism professor Jay Rosen weighs in.

[T]hough I await further reports, talk of some blogospheric war makes little sense to me. We’re in a dynamic situation here. And one of the biggest unknowns is: will Obama match McCain in radical openness with the press?

Lots of suppositions here. [More...]

Jane Hamsher says: “The media have locked their sights on Obama.” If she’s referring to what happens when the perception of Obama love becomes strong enough within the press corps that they self-consciously look for ways to bring some bad noise… yeah, that moment is here. (And it can happen with the press and McCain, too.) If she means the admiration for Obama within the press corps is over, and now they seek to destroy him, just like they did with Al Gore… no way. Political reporters are in the main still astonished and impressed with Obama. He defied their odds, and proved himself better at horse race punditry than they are.

Rosen, I think, gives too much credit to Obama and essentially makes Jane's point.

Not to mention, Obama doesn't have the nomination yet.

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    Why? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Dadler on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:46:36 PM EST
    Because they are afraid of him: afraid if they go after him, his b.s. war hero image will make them look like some kind of quasi-traitor; and afraid of him physically since he's a well known thug and intimidator.  Never mind he's an old man, they still think he will literally kick their asses.    

    McCain is the emobidment of pathological American denial.  Denial of our wretched mistakes in the past (and, conversely, the romanticizing of them -- McCain wasn't really bombing and murdering innocent people in Vietnam and being brutally punished for it, he was ONLY being a brave POW who endured), denial of our wretched mistakes in the present (his and our massive aiding of them), and hope that we can continue to deny them in the future (so we don't have to really do the hard and critical and often ugly work of genuinely changing for the better).  His appeal is founded ENTIRELY on falsehoods of the highest order.  And the childish wish (greatly at odds with functioning democracy) to be protected by a tough daddy.

    The hard truth is McCain was shot down murdering people in a war of aggression.  There isn't a chance in hell that McCain wouldn't want to execute any foreign fighter doing the same here that he did in Vietnam.  Get him to attempt to face that awful irony and we might be on to something real.  Short of that, he's going to be treated as if he's not actually John McCain, but some wax figure of "honor" created in the illusion of an image.

    you must be a follower (none / 0) (#17)
    by RalphB on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:05:27 PM EST
    of Rev Wright.  you'll be a big help to Obama in winning over middle america.  sheesh.

    BS War Hero?? (none / 0) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 04:12:09 PM EST
    That's bad even for you.

    I thought, since you have a brother(??) in the military you would at least respect his service if not his political positions.

    Shame on you.


    I did not understand Jay Rosen's piece (none / 0) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:17:53 PM EST
    But I think you and Jane give Obama too little credit when it comes to dealing with the press.

    The media is on board for the Unity Shtick (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:48:15 PM EST
    And that alone might make you right: they might decide that we don't need a "maverick" this year.

    Precisely (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:51:41 PM EST
    And the tracking polling (none / 0) (#13)
    by MKS on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:43:44 PM EST
    showing McCain moving ahead of both Hillary and Obama?

    Perhaps just the result of a divided field on the Democratic side.  Or, both Wright and Tuzla hit and hurt.


    Baloney (none / 0) (#29)
    by pluege on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 08:50:21 PM EST
    "The media is on board for the Unity Shtick"

    that's widhful nonsense. The media hates democrats. If Obama is the nomination, they will attack him viciously with every lie and smear they can dream up.


    Maybe because he's in the gang already (none / 0) (#2)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:31:38 PM EST
    In most of their reporting lives, McCain, a war hero with a sense of humor and a fictional Maverick has just always been there and given the media no problems. Obama has only just recently needed the media enough that he needs to do interviews, etc. Obama is the new kid on the block and although the media admires him and like his bike, they have not made him their best friend yet. McCain is already one of the friends and Hillary is a girrrrrrrl.

    Gendered? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Marlowecan on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:10:03 PM EST
    "...and Hillary is a girrrrrrrl."

    I am well acquainted with the sexist language in the blogosphere directed at HRC, but do you believe that a gendered perspective is that defining a feature of the press corps?

    How does one account for the "crush" that many female reporters - at least those not from Chicago (the one's who cornered Obama in Texas were all female and all worked for Chicago papers - share with their male counterparts for Obama?


    Missed the kids club humor (none / 0) (#16)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:59:49 PM EST
    In the little boys club house, puppies were allowed, but no girls. Ugg, girls, phew phew.  Cooties. Then the little boys turned 13.

    Women (none / 0) (#18)
    by stillife on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:05:47 PM EST
    can be misogynist too.  See: MoDo.

    Women (none / 0) (#27)
    by Imelda Blahnik2 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 07:41:46 PM EST
    yup, they can be misogynist - especially when they too want into the boys' club. It's a way of proving your kewlness.

    McCain interacts...Obama lectures (none / 0) (#3)
    by Marlowecan on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:31:38 PM EST
    Perhaps it is Obama's background as a lecturer, but he does not seem to interact well with reporters; his stunning speaking abilities notwithstanding. Contrast McCain & Obama on dealing with media in the wake of crises:

    McCain after the NYT "affair" piece held a press conference answering every question, and asking for more at the end.

    Obama in Texas, cornered by Chicago reporters with questions re. Rezko, pleaded - "Guys, I answered eight questions." - before ducking out.

    Obama has gotten better with the media in answering questions after Wright, but still he doesn't match McCain.

    Also, McCain is a iconoclast maverick, and frequently mocks himself. That has undeniable press appeal.

    Personally, I think HRC would probably make the best president all-around...and I'm a conservative (May God have mercy on my soul for backing HRC)... but she has the worst press.

    McCain (none / 0) (#15)
    by MKS on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:51:05 PM EST
    hasn't charmed everyone.  

    Tad Cochran--a conservative Republican--thinks he's nuts and would be too dangerous to have as CINC.


    Duh... (none / 0) (#4)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:39:11 PM EST
    ...he's 1) white, 2) male and 3) wealthy.  Just like the media ownership.  It's not really rocket science.  

    4) McCain's not a healthy man. period. (none / 0) (#24)
    by thereyougo on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 05:02:27 PM EST
    and 71YO. That is one way to drive out the youth vote.
    just sayin'

    McCain seems to be (none / 0) (#5)
    by Arcadianwind on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:45:42 PM EST
    pretty straightforward most of the time, not so much into the equivocating syndrome as Obama or Clinton. Obama has it severely, Clinton, less so.

    The Media probably find McCain somewhat refreshing that way, even though it gives them less to write about.

    Straight-talker- it's his *style* (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Imelda Blahnik2 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 07:49:17 PM EST
    McCain blurts stuff out, he comes out vehemently for or against something, makes some relatively precise even if incomprehensible statement, and sticks by it, whatever it is.

    Then a week or month or six months later he reverses himself, in an equally blunt, forceful, blurty way, but with no acknowledgement at all that he is in fact reversing himself.

    So in a way, the style is that of a straight talker. The talk itself isn't, not at all.

    But the press corps are sluts for style, and the have the memories of a doorknob when it suits them. As long as he plays the straight-talker and refuses to budge on his "principles" and "what he believes," they play along.

    That is a very different thing from the kind of equivocation you often see with Democrats (Kerry being one of the worst offenders). Kerry's substance may have been solid, but it was delivered, sometimes, not always, in an equivocating manner, with lots of hedging, buts, well, if, etc. I think it is a hazard of the liberal mind: being able to see various sides of an argument, being able to appreciate those different sides.

    Dems need to work on that style. This is not a superficial matter.


    McCain has the consistency (none / 0) (#14)
    by MKS on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:48:12 PM EST
    of squishy oatmeal....He has changed his mind on taxes and torture and immigration.....That's some principle at work....

    Will the press notice?  Maybe not that.

    But his being old and being fed lines by Lieberman....Yep, that could pick up steam.


    "declared war??" (none / 0) (#7)
    by kenosharick on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:47:26 PM EST
    The same liberal bloggers who have joined hands with the MSM to visciously destroy Hillary's campaign by whatever means neccessary? Those bloggers?

    That struck me also. Now we (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:51:55 PM EST
    demand fair treatment by the media.  

    if, by that (none / 0) (#11)
    by cpinva on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:55:57 PM EST
    will Obama match McCain in radical openness with the press?

    he means telling the press how wonderful they are and stroking their pathetic littl egos, then yeah, i'm sure sen. obama is quite capable of that. hell, it's worked for mccain.

    however, there can only be one "authentic" candidate in the GE, mccain seems to have the lock on that. at least sen. clinton went to an actual war zone, the closest sen. obama's gotten to one is by playing video games. not MSM "authentic" material at all!

    McCain (none / 0) (#19)
    by nemo52 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:40:20 PM EST
    manages to pander to the press (barbeques at his house, letting all the Boyz on the Bus) while creating his image of straight-talker.  Flattery works!

    since when (none / 0) (#20)
    by dws3665 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 03:15:55 PM EST
    is TRex a leading progressive blogger? Including him in a list with Jane, Duncan, and Digby is a little like suggesting that Jimmy Carter be memorialized on Mt Rushmore. Nice guy and all, but not worthy.

    With that out of the way, I usually think Rosen is pretty smart, but I think he's really missed the underlying psychological point. The media believe that they (not as individuals, but as an institution) are pro-Dem, so they (as individuals, not necessarily as an institution) bend over backwards to attack Dems and give the "appearance of fairness." I think they all believe they are making up for others' bias. That, and they are, generally speaking, very stupid.

    Real commentators (none / 0) (#21)
    by bernarda on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 03:41:10 PM EST
    I propose these two girls for political commentary on the election. Please, go beyond the first 20 seconds. This is some straight talking.


    better than msnbc by a mile :-) (none / 0) (#23)
    by RalphB on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 04:15:35 PM EST
    Would a better question be (none / 0) (#25)
    by clapclappointpoint on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 05:21:14 PM EST
    why does Bill heart McCain?

    Got part way through (none / 0) (#26)
    by Lora on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 05:36:26 PM EST
    Jay Rosen's interminable post.  Then I came to this:

    My view: If you already know what the press and the makers of political television are going to do with McCain and Obama in 2008, you know far too much.

    We'll see.  My prediction for the Mouth Piece Media: Obama, bad.  McCain, good.  We'll see if I know far too much or not.