Angry McBush mad at national news media

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. McCain Turns Sour on His Onetime Media `Base' as Election Nears

    By Heidi Przybyla
    Enlarge Image/Details

    Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- The longtime love affair between John McCain and what he once called his ``base'' -- the national news media -- is on the rocks.

    McCain's campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, yesterday lashed out at what he deemed ``offensive'' and ``demeaning'' coverage and questions from reporters after McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, confirmed her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant.

    ``It used to be that a lot of those smears and the crap on the Internet stayed out of the newsrooms of serious journalists,'' Schmidt said at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

    Schmidt's criticism is the latest example in the unraveling of what was once a fond relationship between the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and the media. Starting in the 2000 Republican primaries, the Arizona senator became a media sensation by chatting up the press in the back of his ``Straight Talk Express'' campaign bus. The national press corps freely mingled with McCain for hours on the bus, with no topic off limits.

    More recently, though, McCain, 72, has accused news organizations such as the New York Times, Time magazine and the NBC network of being unfair to him. The campaign even considered pulling out of one of the three presidential debates because it would be moderated by Tom Brokaw, a former NBC News anchorman.

    `Media Scrutiny'

    ``McCain's both been close to and now, to some extent, the object of media scrutiny that he's never had before,'' said Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican.

    In one way, the more strained relationship may be an asset for McCain by broadening his appeal to conservative Republicans who believe the media has a liberal bias.

    ``There are a lot of people who don't like the press anymore and think they're out of control; attacking the messenger isn't a terrible political strategy,'' said Darrell West, a scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington who has written several books on the mass media.

    Yet, it may also have pitfalls. ``You still need the press to get your message out and if you have an antagonistic relationship it can blow up in your face,'' West said.

    `Straight Talk'

    As the relationship has deteriorated, McCain has stopped hosting his once-famous ``straight talk'' get-togethers on his campaign plane. He also has abandoned regular press conferences.

    Instead, he stops occasionally to read short written statements in front of cameras, like he did Aug. 31 in Jackson, Mississippi; then walks away from questions shouted by reporters.

    His campaign plane is custom configured with a lounge area designed for hosting question-and-answer sessions with the press. McCain inaugurated the lounge on one of the plane's first flights and hasn't used it since.

    Invitations for the press to visit the Straight Talk Express also have grown scarce. Local reporters are allowed the occasional visit, though journalists traveling with McCain no longer are invited to drop in. He hasn't held a news conference since Aug. 13.

    Some of the campaign's new approach may coincide with the bigger role taken by Schmidt, who was close to Karl Rove, a former campaign manager and White House aide to President George W. Bush, known for keeping a tight grip on press access to his boss.

    Public Rifts

    There have also been a series of public rifts between the campaign and the media. On July 31, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis sparred with MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell in an exchange about a McCain campaign ad portraying Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as a celebrity.

    ``I'm happy to talk about more substantive issues the next time I come on your program,'' Davis said, capping the testy interview.

    On July 22, the McCain camp assailed the media in an Internet advertisement and an e-mail to supporters.

    ``It's pretty obvious the media has a bizarre fascination with Barack Obama, some may even say it's a love affair,'' McCain's campaign said in the e-mail. ``The media is in love with Barack Obama. If it wasn't so serious, it would be funny.''

    On Aug. 17, Davis sent a letter to NBC News President Steve Capus saying the network was ``abandoning non-partisan coverage of the presidential race.'' Davis said New York-based NBC had made ``unsubstantiated, partisan claims'' designed ``to undercut John McCain.''

    Capus said he spoke with the McCain campaign after he received the letter and ``there is no issue in terms of a broader problem.'' NBC is owned by Fairfield, Connecticut-based General Electric Co.

    Combative Stance

    McCain also took a combative stance in an Aug. 27 interview with Time reporters James Carney and Michael Scherer, refusing to answer a question about his definition of honor.

    ``Read it in my books,'' McCain said. ``I'm not going to define it.'' That exchange set the tone for the rest of the interview: McCain answered a question about his opinion on premarital sex by saying, ``I don't have any response to that type of question.''

    He added, ``Write what you want.''
  2. kut2k2


    The wheels are off the "Straight Talk" express. The long, long honeymoon is over. Now maybe the media will finally show America the real John McCain.
  3. Arnie


    Might have to change the name to the "Straight Jacket" express:D
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